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.

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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