The KIPP WAYS school band and scores of excited students were on hand when representatives from the Atlanta Families Awards for Exellence in Education (AFAEE) surprised KIPP WAYS principal Dwight Ho-Sang and presented him with an oversized check for $7,500 to celebrate his commitment to excellence and to Atlanta Public Schools (APS) students. Similar scenarios played out at nine other schools across the district. Educators from two APS charter schools, KIPP WAYS and KIPP STRIVE, were among the award recipients.
The unsuspecting KIPP WAYS principal admitted that AFAEE was the furthest thing from his mind as he approached the multipurpose room where his students and colleagues and AFAEE representatives waited to surprise him, but Ho-Sang said when he entered the room and saw the balloons and the crowd and he heard the band playing, he knew instantly what was happening.
“We had a similar ceremony at one of our schools last year when another principal won, so I knew right away,” said Ho-Sang. “It’s exciting.”
AFAEE honors outstanding APS teachers and school leaders for their commitment to excellence, while aiming to create a platform to further each award winners’ success.
As part of this platform for success, winners receive a $7,500 monetary award, which includes: $1,500 to fund a professional development opportunity, a $2,500 personal stipend and $3,500 to fund a project of the winner’s choice. Ho-Sang’s project, Gentleman of Distinction, is a male mentoring program designed to increase students’ academic standing and improve their behavior at school.
This year is Ho-Sang’s third year serving as principal of KIPP WAYS Academy. After earning his Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from Williams College Ho-Sang launched his teaching career in 2002 as a Teach For America corps member at Dunbar Elementary School. Following his two-year commitment as a corps member, he taught an additional year in APS at M. Agnes Jones, and in 2005, he began working at KIPP WAYS as a social studies and language arts teacher. After earning his Masters of Science in Urban Teacher Leadership from Georgia State University, Ho-Sang completed Teacher Leader and Leadership Team training programs, and served as the Lower School Dean and the Dean of Instruction at KIPP WAYS Academy. Before assuming the role of principal at KIPP WAYS, Ho-Sang worked at KIPP DIAMOND in Memphis,
“This is all very humbling. It’s a real honor to be selected,” Ho-Sang said.
AFAEE will formally recognize Ho-Sang and the nine other 2013 winners at the November 21 awards ceremony, which will take place at the Carter Center.
Since its inception in 2005, AFAEE has supported APS by recognizing and honoring teaching excellence, by retaining motivated educators, and by attracting like-minded individuals to the district.