Princess Francois, an assistant principal at the Math, Engineering and Science Academy (MESA), a charter high school in Bushwick, was surprised with a $25,000 cash award on Wednesday for her high-performing methods in teaching and learning.

The Milken Educator Award, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” comes with a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize and is presented annually to 40 education and administrators who show exemplary leadership in driving student achievement.

Francois was presented the award during a school assembly by Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley and NYS Department of Education Office of Higher Education Allison Armour-Garb. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from New York this year.

MESA, charter high school, Princess Francois, Milken Educator Award
Assistant Principal Princess Francois is floored to learn that she is New York’s 2019-20 Milken Educator Award recipient.
Photo: Milken Family Foundation

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Francois oversees 70 staff and 500 students. She initiated a schoolwide vertical alignment process, helped reorganize professional development efforts and analyzes data to support at-risk students and struggling teachers.

When she taught Algebra Remediation at MESA, 11 of her 17 students passed the New York State Regents Exam at the end of the year; in Earth Science, Regents pass rates rose 14%. Under her supervision, Regents pass rates have risen 20% for Algebra II (the highest level of math at MESA) and 17% for Chemistry.

“Princess Francois understands the value of a STEM education,” said Foley. “By working to help students advance themselves and their communities, Francois opens the door to a brighter future. Her uplifting vision and strategic work is the kind of inspirational leadership we seek, and we’re proud to welcome her as a Milken Educator.”

“Assistant Principal Francois has a powerful positive influence on her students, colleagues, and the school community at MESA,” said Armour-Garb. “Francois’ leadership reinforces a college-going culture, to make educational equity a reality for MESA’s diverse students.”

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