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Star principal retires

Doris B. Jackson, one of the best high school principals I have ever seen, just announced her retirement from Arlington County's Wakefield High School. With her mentor and predecessor Marie Shiels Djouadi, Jackson made Wakefield -- where half the students are low-income and two thirds black or Hispanic -- one of the nation's best-known educational successes.

The school has met adequate yearly progress requirements every year since 2003. It has tripled participation in Advanced Placement tests, while also raising its passing rate on the difficult three-hour exams. It won the College Board's Inspiration Award, a $25,000 prize given to only about three schools each year. Its glowing record led President Obama to make it the site of a major education address last September.

Jackson said she would leave officially at the end of September, after helping her replacement, not yet announced, get settled. There has been no controversy surrounding her departure. The school has one of the most creative and energetic faculties in the area, and is one of only two public schools in the region to require senior projects for graduation.

I will have a piece about Jackson's predecessor, Djouadi, in the Washington Post magazine April 11, and will write about Jackson and her special touch with teachers and students in more detail when her leaving date nears.

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By Jay Mathews  | March 17, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Doris B. Jackson retirement, Wakefield High School, educational success story  
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