Volusia County Schools and the FUTURES Foundation of Volusia County Schools announced the 2020 Principals of the Year today – an honor delayed from spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alisa Fedigan, principal of DeBary Elementary School, is the 2020 Elementary Principal of the Year, and Dr. Melissa Carr, principal of DeLand High School, is the 2020 Secondary Principal of the Year.

The announcements were made during virtual meetings – with surprise visits to the winners by a small group of VCS leaders and FUTURES Foundation representatives.

Alisa Fedigan

DeBary Elementary School Principal Alisa Fedigan, winner of 2020 Elementary Principal of the Year.

Fedigan, a 23-year VCS veteran who has served as DeBary Elementary principal for eight years, is a driven leader who develops a strong team at every grade level. She supports her team by equipping them with problem-solving skills and data-based strategy to ensure positive student achievement, Principal Secretary Paula Phelan said in the nomination. Fedigan works with local businesses on an annual 5K to benefit the school and supports DeBary’s Relay for Life Team.

“Mrs. Fedigan makes all 800-plus students feel special here at DeBary by knowing each of their names and a little about all of them,” Phelan said. “Mrs. Fedigan really does devote herself to this job, she works very hard and goes above and beyond in many ways.”

Dr. Melissa Carr dove into school data when she arrived at DeLand High three years ago and, with vision and innovation, established new strategies and training to support the success of every Bulldog student, Principal Secretary Shirley Little said in the nomination.

Melissa Carr

DeLand High School Principal Dr. Melissa Carr, 2020 Secondary Principal of the Year.

Through what is now known as Project Graduation, Carr led her team to increase DeLand’s graduation rate by 8% in just two years, and by more than 10% for subgroups of African-American, Hispanic, English Language Learners, and economically disadvantaged students.

“Being a principal is about student achievement, instructional leadership, and organizational leadership. To meet all of those standards, a principal has to know her school and care about the people inside it. Dr. Carr is exactly what a principal should be,” Little said. “She’s positive, innovative and fearless, thorough and thoughtful, professional and personable, the striking embodiment of both the art and science of education.”

Carr has worked for VCS for 30 years.

The Principal of the Year awards are co-sponsored by VCS and FUTURES Foundation, and winners are selected by their peer group principals during a secret ballot process each spring. The awards honor outstanding leadership and service by school-level administrators. The winners receive a plaque and a $250 award from FUTURES.

FUTURES Foundation is a nonprofit, direct support organization founded in 1985 to support Volusia County Schools. Its mission is to engage business and civic leaders to promote and achieve educational excellence for Volusia County Schools.

The foundation’s 27-member board of directors consists of area business and civic leaders who direct and raise funds to facilitate a variety of programs in the school district.

Through business and individual donations, FUTURES Foundation presents staff recognition programs such as Principal of the Year and the Superintendent's Outstanding Achievement Awards.

For more information about FUTURES, please contact Executive Director Cynthia Ramirez at 386-255-6475, ext. 50730, and caperric@volusia.k12.fl.us or visit www.FUTURESVolusia.org.

- Volusia Schools Community Information Services Director Kelly Schulz