On Monday, April 2 District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) announced that effective June 2018, Tenia Pritchard will take on the role of Principal of Excel Academy (2501 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE) as that school moves into the DCPS system.
An all-girls school serving preK-3 through grade eight, until recently Excel Academy held a charter from the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB). The school was the site of an April 2017 visit by First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, after which the First Lady called the school “exceptional.” A few months later, in January 2018, DCPCSB voted unanimously to revoke Excel Academy’s charter because the school had not met its charter goals.
Excel’s move to DCPS, announced in March, expands the public school’s work with single-gender schools to work with girls, complimenting the mission of Ron Brown Preparatory High School, which launched in 2016.
A spokesperson for DCPS said, “We are excited to welcome Excel into the DCPS community, and retain staff and the school culture, while dramatically raising student outcomes.”
Pritchard was recognized as the 2018 DCPS Principal of the Year. She has demonstrated a life-long commitment to DCPS. A graduate of Eastern High School, she spent two years teaching at Adelaide Davis Elementary (4430 H St NE), where she herself attended school before moving to Whittier Education Campus (6201 Fifth St NW) where she served as a teacher, Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal before becoming Principal at Whittier.
Pritchard said that she wants to continue to have a positive environment where young ladies can understand their own power and the possibilities for their lives.
A resident of Ward 7, Pritchard said she was excited to come back to the community where she grew up. She said she is interested in collaborating with parents to understand what they’d like to see in the school and to design a model school for the students. Her first meeting with Excel parents took place Monday evening.
“This is personal to me,” she said. “I know the teachers and people that I met along my journey, they’re the reason why I’m here today.”
“That same consistency is my job to pay it forward.”
The Principal said she is excited to lead a school of minority young ladies, and about the gains she expects the school to make over the coming academic year.
“This is more than a job to me,” Pritchard said. “This is a commitment.”