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Buckhorn High School Assistant Principal Jennifer West Named 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year

by Alyssa Godfrey, Director of Communications and Technology | Dec 10, 2019
Jennifer West, assistant principal at Buckhorn High School in the Madison County School System has been named the Alabama Assistant Principal of the Year by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP).

Jennifer West APOY 2019

NEW MARKET, ALA. – DECEMBER 4, 2019:
Jennifer West, assistant principal at Buckhorn High School in the Madison County School System has been named the Alabama Assistant Principal of the Year by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP).  As the Alabama state winner, West is eligible to be selected as the 2020 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Assistant Principal of the Year.

West has 13 years of experience in the field of education with three years as an assistant principal. She began as a special education teacher at Buckhorn High School in 2007 before being chosen as the school’s assistant principal in 2016.

West is credited with overhauling the Advanced Placement program at Buckhorn High School. From researching student demographics in the AP courses, she noticed gaps in minority and economically disadvantaged students. West created a plan of action to address the discrepancies. By holding conferences with parents and students, informational nights, and financial supports, and studying/tutoring sessions, the AP program saw an increase of 61% minority students, 96% economically disadvantaged students, and 3% of total AP students with a qualifying score (3+).

Among her many accomplishments, West believes one of her greatest successes is her contribution to the culture and relationships with faculty and staff. With her background in special education, West knew that collaboration would only happen with meaningful and trusting relationships. To that end, she fostered a culture of teamwork by providing an atmosphere of “working with” faculty and staff rather than a “working for” attitude.

West truly cares for the students of Buckhorn High School. She demonstrates her concern through programs like BHS Helping Hands that collected non-perishable food and donations to provide 20 families with food during the summer. West also started the BHS Care Closet which is stocked with hygiene products, clothing, undergarments, school supplies, snacks, packaged food, shoes, detergent, towels, jackets, etc. The program is designed to meet the needs of students and their families and is much appreciated by those who utilize it.

Last school year, West realized the professional learning community meetings needed some reconfiguring. By rotating core departments one day, every other week, for 90 minutes, teachers could incorporate their PLC meetings into the school day. Over time, the teachers bought into the idea as they saw the benefits of having time to collaborate with one another. West also saw the need for fluid/flexible enrichment/intervention time to be built into the schedule. By working with administrative staff, West carefully plotted out the time so that teachers who aren’t in a PLC meeting can have intervention and enrichment classes through a program named BUCKS XL.

 “Ms. West has distinguished herself during her brief time as an administrator,” comments Principal Todd Markham. “It gives me great pleasure to recommend her for this award.”

Tommy Ledbetter, retired Buckhorn High School principal states, “Quickly, Ms. West demonstrated excellent ability to organize, communicate, innovate new ideas, and explore solutions to obstacles and problems. Her interpersonal skills endeared her to students, parents, and teachers at the school, district, and state levels. Always on the cusp of changing, challenging legal policies, she quickly became an invaluable asset to Buckhorn and Madison County.”=

A panel of judges selected West from numerous applicants across the state of Alabama.  Ms. West’s award was announced during a faculty meeting on December 4.  West will represent the state as the nominee for the National Assistant Principal of the Year Award.  West will also serve a one-year term on the AASSP Board of Directors.

“Jennifer West has demonstrated excellent leadership as an assistant principal.  Her selection as the Alabama Assistant Principal of the Year is a testament to her hard work and dedication. Ms. West has a bright future and a great career ahead of her,” states Dr. Vic Wilson, AASSP executive director.

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About AASSP: The Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals is an affiliate association of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).  CLAS is an umbrella association that serves ten affiliates comprised of Alabama’s public school administrators.  CLAS is dedicated to providing the framework to connect dedicated school administrators and other successful leaders with a network for professional growth and support.  For more information, visit www.clasleaders.org.

Photo: Jennifer West named Alabama’s 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. [download photo]

Pictured (left to right): Todd Markham, principal; Jennifer West, assistant principal and award winner; Tim Solley, assistant superintendent of instruction and accountability; Allen Perkins, Madison County superintendent, and Dr. Vic Wilson, AASSP executive Director.