Bulletin editorial: Build on Agbamu's leadershipWe hope District 833 administrators view Dr. Efe Agbamu’s efforts as a strong foundation on which to build a bright future for Park High School.
In a recent Bulletin Viewpoint, District 833 Superintendent Mark Porter begins by noting: “Leadership in any organization comes from the top.”
While Porter is writing about leadership of South Washington County Schools, the message certainly applies to individual school buildings, including Park High School in Cottage Grove.
For the past four years Park has been guided by Dr. Efe Agbamu, a principal whose leadership has helped to positively — and dramatically, some would say — transform the school culture. Concern about sub-par test scores has given way to enthusiastic boosting of improved student performance. The successes are worth highlighting following Agbamu’s announcement last week that she is leaving the school district for another education job.
By most accounts, Agbamu led Park by expecting much from its teachers, staff and, most of all, its students. She has been dynamic, enthusiastic, engaging, tough and compassionate. Most importantly, she has gotten results.
During Agbamu's tenure, the number of students taking advanced placement exams has spiked roughly six-fold – from nearly 50 students three years ago to more than 330 students last year. That is one indication that Park students are pushing themselves academically and planning for post-high school education. Also in recent years, the number of students taking college-readiness exams has increased.
Agbamu perhaps will be best remembered for her push to launch the International Baccalaureate program at Park. IB is proving to be academically grueling for the students who signed up for the program's rigorous coursework, extra research papers and community and education projects. The diploma program wrapped up its first year this spring, and it is poised to grow this fall.
Agbamu’s leadership was noticed beyond the hallways and classrooms of Park. She was nominated for and later won the latest Secondary Principal of the Year award for Minnesota. It was great recognition for Agbamu, but it also was a reflection of the successes of Park under her guidance.
We applaud Agbamu’s work at Park and wish her well as she returns to the St. Paul School District, this time to run its English Language Learners program.
Meanwhile, Park temporarily is left with a leadership void. That void no doubt will be filled, and most likely sooner than later, and we hope District 833 administrators view Agbamu’s efforts as a strong foundation on which to build a bright future for Park High School. Effective leadership will be needed to continue on that path, and that comes from the top.