Randall Middle School Principal Claire Mawhinney was recently named Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the Florida Parent Teacher Association.

Randall Middle School Principal Claire Mawhinney has a new title to add to her extensive resume this school year. Mawhinney, who is celebrating her 35th year an educator, was named Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the group’s annual awards ceremony over the summer.

Randall PTSA Treasurer and Awards Committee Chairperson TyLee Walck nominated Mawhinney for the award after watching her involvement at the school over the two years her daughter has been a student there.

“I have never seen an administrator who cares as much about a school and its students as Mrs. Mawhinney,” said Walck, who put together an extensive application detailing all the reasons she felt Mawhinney should win the award. “She leads by example and her proactive, innovative and extraordinary efforts make her an exceptional administrator.”

According to Walck, Randall was one of more than 250 schools that nominated an administrator for the award, which looks at how the nominee displays commitment to the core values of the Florida PTA, among other factors when choosing the winner.

“It was such a wonderful surprise,” said Mawhinney, who taught for 17 years and was named Teacher of the Year at Plant City High School and Hillsborough County Social Studies Teacher of the Year before moving to school administration. “Our PTSA is such a supportive and inclusive group and I feel incredibly honored to be acknowledged by them in this way.”

Mawhinney applies her personal professional background to her role as principal.

“I have tried to use my experience as both a parent and a teacher to make Randall a school that works for everyone who is connected to it,” she said. “I think one of the reasons the PTSA and I have such a great relationship is that we have the same goals and are focused on the best for all the students at the school. I honor what they do.”

Walck feels that Mawhinney’s leadership encourages an extremely positive relationship between parents and teachers and appreciates the communication encouraged throughout the school.

“Mrs. Mawhinney’s presence is constantly felt by her involvement in our children’s extracurricular activities and everyday lives at school and in our community,” said Walck. “We are grateful that she was recognized for her dedication to our school, district, state and all of our children.”

Randall Middle School is located at 16510 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia and can be reached at 740-3901. To learn more about the Florida PTA, visit www.floridapta.org.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.