Celebrate this year’s Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence recipients: Principal Jackson, EdD at Nathan Hale High School and Principal McCowan-Conyers at West Seattle Elementary School.
The Alliance for Education, the local education fund for the Seattle Public School district awarded two principals the 2023 Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, each receiving a $25,000 award grant for their schools. This school year’s award recipients are Principal William Jackson, EdD at Nathan Hale High School and Principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers at West Seattle Elementary School.
“These two school leaders are the embodiment of academic excellence, creating school climates for belonging, emotional safety and thriving for students. They lead their staff with compassion, care, empathy, and high expectations. They build in accountability in everything they do, with a focus on student outcomes,” said Dr. Brent Jones, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “These are some tremendous leaders, and I couldn’t be prouder of both Principal William Jackson and Principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers. They have been advocates of excellence, and this is what it’s all about at the end of the day.”
The Foster Award recognizes and honors two outstanding Seattle Public Schools principals who have demonstrated success in advancing educational justice and racial equity in their school community. Given to SPS principals since 2000, the award commemorates Thomas B. Foster, a prominent Seattle attorney who displayed a strong personal commitment to public education. The award is unrestricted, giving schools the flexibility to spend the award funds in the best interest of student needs, when they need.
“This award means everything. Because, to me, this award was won for West Seattle Elementary, and I think it is the greatest place in the world to be. I’m so proud of our students, families and community. We do a lot of work around equity and inclusion, and when we talk about equity and inclusion, people oftentimes think we are only talking about race,” said Pamela McCowan-Conyers, Principal at West Seattle Elementary School. “Yes, we get to encompass people of color and put our arms around them and tell them that we love them, but we also get to include different cultures, colors, abilities, ages and religions. So, when we talk about inclusion, we talk about it from all vantage points. I truly love our beautiful mosaic of diversity at West Seattle Elementary.”
“I feel extremely grateful and blessed to be surrounded by amazing leaders, great staff and students that push me. This award is really significant because we do focus on this; we focus on African American male achievement and on access to advanced course work. Every student takes advanced courses here at Nathan Hale through College in the High School.” said Dr. William Jackson, Principal at Nathan Hale High School. “To earn an award that verifies that work is very rewarding.”
“We could not be prouder of this year’s Foster Award for Excellence winners, two remarkable community leaders who represent the best of Seattle Public Schools. Our public school principals are community heroes, and we are delighted to recognize the outstanding efforts of both Dr. Jackson and Principal McCowan-Conyers for their achievements in advancing racial equity and educational justice,” said Lisa Chick, President at Alliance for Education. “We believe that education can be a powerful tool for building a more equitable society, and we are thrilled to support the district’s ongoing efforts to create more inclusive learning environments for all students to thrive.”
Foster awardees were selected based on an outpour of colleague and community nominations alongside consideration of school building level data that shows strides in advancing racial equity and educational justice for their students. View all past award winners online here and photos from this year’s surprise award assembly presentations here.