The 2023 Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Principal of the Year is Daria Parham, head of Paul I. Miller School 114.
IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson surprised Parham Wednesday during a special celebration at the school.
“Daria is a leader committed to the growth and development of all children, and we at IPS are lucky to have such an outstanding professional,” Dr. Johnson said. “She is focused on educating the whole child by ensuring students are provided with opportunities to engage in social-emotional learning, character development, and rigorous academic content. In her career as a principal, she has demonstrated success with improving academic outcomes for all students.”
The IPS Principal of the Year Award recognizes those principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. In presenting this award, IPS hopes to encourage excellence in school leadership and to contribute in a substantive way to the improvement of education in the district.
As the principal of Paul I. Miller since 2016, Parham manages daily activities and ensures continuous success in a K-6 urban school.
Parham believes she has worked diligently to instill a sense of excellence at her school by eliminating academic and opportunity gap and building a foundation for college or career; demonstrating leadership and innovation in and outside of the school building walls; collaborating with colleagues, students, families, and the community to foster student success; and creating a school culture of respect and achievement.
“As a school leader, I feel it is important to script leadership moves that will lead to success for my students and staff,” said Parham, who joined the district as a teacher in 2004. “Over the past few years, I have become more strategic and intentional with my practices. My overall goal is to make sure my teachers and students have the tools they need to be successful.
“Creating a culture of transparency is also an integral part of ensuring success,” she said. “It is very important to establish mutual trust among my staff, students, families and myself. Over the course of my leadership journey, I have been more intentional when sharing information about the known and unknown. I found that my school family feels more at ease, and this also helps to continue to foster trust among the group.”
Parham was nominated for the award by Erica M. Robinson, an executive director of schools for the district.
Robinson noted that Parham consistently showed thoughtfulness and determination in both instructional leadership and establishing a positive culture for her school community.
She pointed out that Parham’s efforts for establishing clear systems and structures around lesson internalization protocols yielded the largest net improvements in the district in on-grade-level status in reading and math according to 21-22 (mid-year) WEA proficiency data. Under her leadership, Paul I. Miller School 114 witnessed some of the highest gains in the district on the 21-22 (end of year) NWEA metrics.
“Her school’s focus on providing access to rigorous instruction was a consistent staple in her building that helped develop a shared understanding of what quality instruction should be,” Robinson said. “The sense of collaboration and trust that she has established at Paul I. Miller School 114 is something embedded in the culture of the building and unmatched. Teachers are continuously working hard under Daria’s leadership and students continue to raise to high performance expectations.”