TAMPA — Bryant Elementary School principal Karen Bass was named 2011 Principal of the Year early Tuesday for her "unwavering support" of American Heart Association fundraising initiatives.
Since Bryant Elementary opened in 2003, the school has collectively raised $196,166 by participating in Jump Rope for Heart, a marathonlike fundraising activity in which students find sponsors and then jump rope.
Bass was presented the award at an Elementary School Principals Council meeting just before 8 a.m. Wednesday by American Heart Association senior youth market director Jennifer Waite, who nominated Bass for the honor.
"Every year I get many questions from other schools like, 'Mary E. Bryant raised how much money this year?' and 'How do they raise that much money for the American Heart Association?'" Ms. Waite wrote in her nomination for Bass.
In winning the award, Bass beat out the principals of about 40,000 schools that participate in Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart, a similar program that requires students to play basketball rather than jump rope.
Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia, who also attended Wednesday morning's meeting, said the national award was a testament to school workers' commitment to helping the community.