LaWanda Polydore, Hidden Oaks Elementary School Principal


October is National Principals Month and we want to celebrate some of our amazing principals! LaWanda Polydore, principal at Hidden Oaks Elementary, has been an educator for 24 years, taught most grades at DCPS over a 17 year period, and was the 2019 Principal of the Year.

What is your leadership philosophy? 

My leadership philosophy is multi-faceted. I know all students can learn and the earlier the better! As a leader, I want to ensure success. My belief is grounded in the understanding that I must address the needs of the whole child, then I can help children master standards. Adults and children alike must "feel the love" in all I do or say. As goals are set, I tap into various resources to ensure students have eyeglasses, uniforms, food, supplies and materials to be successful. When students know they are loved and have what the need, they work so hard! Voila! Then, we are on the road to success! 

What do you like best about being a school principal? 

I love seeing students engaged in learning! I volunteer to teach in classes every opportunity I get. I want to maintain the art of teaching and use those opportunities to continue to build positive relationships with students. 

You have been involved in JPEF’s School Leadership Initiative. Why is it important to you to continue to learn and develop your skills and what has been the most valuable aspect of the initiative to you?  

I understand it may sound like a cliche, but I am a lifelong learner! It is critical to collaborate with other leaders and continue to add to my leadership pedagogy. JPEF School Leadership Initiatives provides the perfect opportunities to collaborate with other leaders in formal and informal settings. JPEF does an excellent job providing workshops with guest and specialist from whom I can learn. For example, this summer I was inspired and motivated by Dr. Rudy Jamison workshop on mentoring.  

Keep up the magnificent work JPEF!



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of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.