For the past five years, Green Dot Public Schools has hosted the Golden Dot Awards to recognize educators and staff who are transforming the landscape of public education. Awardees are chosen from our 1,300 inspiring teachers, staff and administrators who serve more than 13,500 students. These educators and staff exemplify Green Dot’s core values.
At this year’s Fifth Annual Golden Dot Awards, Ánimo Phillis Wheatley principal Meghan Maguire was awarded Principal of the Year. In her acceptance speech, Maguire shares an inspiring message for members of the Green Dot family, and educators at large:
Kristen Botello and Bram de Villiers, I am so unbelievably honored and humbled to be in your company. Thank you both for all you have taught me.
There are so many people to thank, as I am merely the face and the name who is lucky enough to stand up here tonight and represent the many names and faces of Ánimo Phillis Wheatley.
To my amazing, patient, and understanding husband, Scott Maguire: Thank you for allowing me to have 624 children. I am so grateful you respect and understand my desire to treat the 622 children that are not ours biologically like they are, even when that means you and our two amazing children, Aubriella and Jaxon, get less of my time and attention. The three of you fill my life with so much love and laughter. I love you.
To my parents: Thank you for instilling in me in a very young age that we fight for what is right, no matter what.
To the many people who have mentored me along the way: There are too many of you to thank and most are in this room, but I want to take a quick second to recognize two of my many mentors, Chad Soleo and Leilani Abulon. Chad, thank you for hiring me at Locke High School in 2005, and being a friend and mentor ever since. Leilani, my fearless Cluster Director, and one of my biggest champions, thank you for always celebrating APW’s successes and helping us overcome our struggles.
To my wickedly talented administrator team, Wendy Perez, Nate Geller, and Andres Montanez: Each day, you challenge our admin team and staff to be better, think wider, and dream bigger. You remind the staff daily with your words and actions what our students deserve. I love you guys.
To the Ánimo Phillis Wheatley staff: Each of you is so incredibly special. I can’t, and don’t want to, imagine where the school would be without each and every Falcon Family member. You are the embodiment of tenacity. Your belief in our students, our vision, and our community is palpable and contagious. I hope that someday every child has educators like the ones we have at Ánimo Phillis Wheatley.
So, on behalf of the incomprehensibly fearless and ridiculously talented group of educators I have the privilege to work alongside each day, I want to dedicate this award to the 520,000 people in the South Los Angeles and the nearly 10,000 people in the West Athens community. Thank you for allowing us into your community and into your lives. It is not lost on us that when we come to work, we walk on your sidewalks and we stand on your soil.
We want to further dedicate this to the nearly 1,300 families we serve at the Henry Clay Learning Complex for entrusting us to educate, empower, and encourage your brilliant children.
Finally, we want to dedicate this to the 622 students of Ánimo Phillis Wheatley. And, while they are not here tonight, this is for them, and because of them. To our students: You are intelligent, hilarious, strong, independent, resilient, hard-working, talented, and capable. Do not let anyone tell you or manipulate you into believing anything different. In light of all that is going on this world and all that feels uncertain, we want you to know, we have never been more certain of your boundless potential. We have never been more certain of the importance of our work to fight for inclusiveness and equity. We are and will remain a sanctuary. We will stand strong and steadfast in our determination to create a more empathetic nation and world.
To my fellow educators in this room, the hard, important work continues.
God bless and thank you.