LaWanda Polydore, Duval County Principal of the Year

Jan. 16, 2020 –“Someone has to do it. Someone has to get in there and say, ‘I’m going to take care of the children.'”

For Principal LaWanda Polydore, the “why” behind her work is simple – to empower her students to be the best they can be, even in spite of their circumstances.

“My students deal with a lot of challenges…a lot of things around death and not having what they need,” explains Polydore. “One of the things I really focus on is the whole child. I want to make sure they have eyeglasses, they have shoes, they have uniforms, and then they get excellent standards-based instruction.”

This dedication is just one reason why the Saint Clair Evans Academy leader was named Duval County Public Schools’ Principal of the Year. Whether it was in providing strength in the midst of a neighborhood shooting, or helping the school go from a D to a B, Polydore’s commitment to the community is evident.

“The children of this community deserve a great education! And they can get it here in Duval County Public Schools, right down the street from their house,” she says. “I know that the children deserve the best, and I want to be the best for them.”

The Team Duval News video team recently spent time with the award-winning educator. Watch this video to learn more about her journey, including the surprising shift that shaped her career.