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CMA Principal Named DPS Principal of the Year

Whats on stage

Six years in a row of 100 percent graduation rates and being given an “A” performance grade from the state—plus continuous double-digit growth—are just some of the reasons City of Medicine Academy’s principal, Dr. Jackie Tobias, was selected the Durham Public Schools Principal of the Year for 2020.

Previously a finalist for the 2019 award, Tobias has almost 30 years as an educator, nine spent as a principal. Encouraging her students to succeed is very personal.  As a student, Tobias hated high school, never expected to succeed, and was unmotivated and apathetic.  Her high school counselor “saw something in her” and helped her apply to college, putting her on her way to finding her calling as an educator.

“I represent all the children who believe they cannot do or achieve because no one believes in them,” said Tobias. “I am driven to become an expert in helping children succeed and to put structures in place so teachers are equipped to assist students like myself, who no one thought would succeed.”

“Principal Tobias is a consummate professional, an inspiration to her students and staff, and a visionary who never settles for ‘good’ when ‘better’ is just ahead,” said DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. “She has high expectations and meets them consistently.”

At CMA, Tobias makes sure that having high expectations is the cultural norm. She expects her teachers to teach and her students to perform at high levels. As a predominantly minority and female school, Tobias works hard to confront hidden biases so every student is empowered to take on challenging classes. 

And it has paid off! CMA has been in North Carolina’s top five percent in year-to-year academic growth for the last three years and the highest growth for DPS high schools for the past four years. Tobias concentrates on improving equity as well, ranking fifth and second in North Carolina in academic growth for Black and Hispanic students respectively.

CMA’s theme for this school year is, “Education is personal at CMA.” Tobias emulates this by striving to meet the personal, academic and performance goals for all her students and staff.

The other finalists for the award were principals Dr. Sheldon Lanier, Brogden Middle, James Hopkins, Lakewood Elementary, and Dr. Gloria Woods-Weeks, J.D. Clement Early College High.

About City of Medicine Academy
City of Medicine Academy is a small learning community and a national model designed to educate and train students to work in the field of health services and medical care.  Located in the heart of Durham’s medical district, CMA provides coursework and field opportunities focused on the healthcare industry with an emphasis on rigorous and relevant learning experiences, while also teaching required academic courses.