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Dr. Danielle DeConcilio with teachers and co-workers at East Area Adult School in Auburndale

FSC Alumna Selected as Polk County’s 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year

Jan 29, 2020

Dr. Danielle Whaley DeConcilio ’03, who in 2016 earned Florida Southern College’s first Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD) degree, has been nominated by Polk County Public Schools as 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. She will represent the district in the state’s Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award program, established in 1997 to recognize exemplary contributions of assistant principals to their schools and communities.

Dr. DeConcilio is now in her third year as the on-site administrator at East Area Adult School’s main campus in Auburndale, which serves adult learners in both the General Educational Development (GED) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. In addition to the main campus, Dr. DeConcilio oversees 17 satellite locations in the eastern portion of Polk County.

“Congratulations to Dr. DeConcilio on her nomination as the Polk County Public Schools 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year,” said FSC’s Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Tracey D. Tedder. “The nomination is such an honor and further demonstrates her outstanding educational leadership skills and passion for education. She was an excellent student at Florida Southern and will continue making a positive and consequential impact through her commitment and exceptional leadership.”

Dr. DeConcilio graduated from FSC as an English major and was working as a reading coach at Kathleen Middle School when she earned her doctorate. She started at East Area Adult School in 2017.

Her efforts to expand the reach of GED offerings within previously underserved areas of Polk County are among the most rewarding aspects of Dr. DeConcilio’s work.

“A lot of people who never finished high school received a certificate of completion, but it’s not equivalent to a diploma,” she said. By studying to successfully complete the four-part GED testing requirements, these individuals can go on to technical colleges or trade schools for the necessary training to pursue higher-quality jobs. “When children come to their parent’s graduation — when they stand up and cheer for them — it’s a living example of the importance of education,” Dr. DeConcilio said.

East Area Adult School currently assists about 900 students, roughly half of whom are pursuing GED certification. Many of the other students are highly educated professionals from all parts of the world who simply need to learn English to be able to practice their professions in Florida, Dr. DeConcilio said.

“I enjoy having conversations with the ESOL students,” she added. “I lived in Spain for a summer, and I identify with them because I was an ESOL student myself.”

In addition to her work for Polk County Public Schools, Dr. DeConcilio has come full-circle by returning to FSC as an adjunct professor in the areas of education and educational leadership.