Dr. Contessa S. Bryant, NWSA Music alumna selected to lead NWSA High School as Principal. Dr. Maggie Rodriguez joins her as the new Assistant Principal

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Contessa Bryant principal press release picture.New World School of the Arts proudly announces Miami-Dade County Public Schools' appointment of Contessa Bryant Ed.D., as Principal of NWSA High School. A 1992 graduate of the NWSA Music Division, Dr. Bryant returns as a seasoned educator and administrator where she will be responsible for planning, organizing, administering and directing academic and operational activities at the high school level, which are essential to the operation of NWSA. The 2020-2021 academic year also welcomes Maggie Rodriguez, Ed.D., who along with Dr. Bryant, will lead the high school in the role of Assistant Principal.

"I can't believe that I get the opportunity to return to my alma mater, a place that gave me so much, to serve as Principal," said Dr. Bryant. "I marched down these hallways as a youngster - yes learning my discipline; but more importantly, I learned lessons of love, humanity, leadership and advocacy. It is an honor to join the ranks of those who ensure pure enjoyment of this magical place for our students - the NWSA Faculty & Staff.

"For me, this work is simple in SCALE - Students, Communication, Advocacy, Love and Excellence. These are the core beliefs I will use to do this work alongside you. New World has always been a place of excellence, and the stage is set to magnify/scale up that excellence."

"Dr. Bryant’s return to NWSA as our Principal illustrates fully how training in the arts prepares one to be a creative, passionate and effective leader. There can’t be someone more prepared to be an impactful advocate for the NWSA students, faculty and staff and we are truly blessed to welcome her back home to New World School of the Arts," expressed Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost and CEO of NWSA.

Dr. Contessa Bryant holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. After spending some time in the private sector, Dr. Bryant transitioned to education where she served as a middle grades language arts teacher. Understanding the importance of continued education, Dr. Bryant pursued advanced degrees from NOVA Southeastern University earning a Master of Science degree in Reading, an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and a Doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership. Her expertise in teaching pedagogy and reading content led to a series of assignments in the area of reading coach and curriculum support specialist. Dr. Bryant has more than ten years administrative experience serving as assistant principal at Campbell Drive Elementary, Campbell Drive Middle and Homestead Senior High. She was pleased to serve as principal at both Lenora B. Smith Elementary and Homestead Middle School. Under her leadership, both schools witnessed tremendous growth including: letter grade increases on Florida's Grading System, elimination from Florida's lowest 300 performing elementary school list, implementation of a number of after school programming/clubs, introduction of the performing arts (dance, music and drama), enhanced community partnerships resulting in great opportunities, experiences and advancements for students. Dr. Bryant returns to New World School of the Arts as principal beginning the 2020-21 school year.

Dr. Maggie Rodriguez graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Florida International University as an Elementary Education major with a minor in Psychology in 1996. A few months later she was offered her first teaching position as a Kindergarten teacher at West Homestead Elementary. In 1998, she opened Christina M. Eve Elementary as the only second grade teacher in a faculty of six where she was asked to serve as the Reading Coach for the school. Maggie then decided to pursue her Master of Science with a major in Reading from Barry University in 2000. After ten years of teaching various grades at the primary level, Maggie was hired as a Reading teacher at Miami Sunset Senior then moving into the Test Chair position. Two years later, she began her Doctor in Education with a dual concentration in Educational and Organizational Leadership. Dr. Rodriguez was then asked to open TERRA Environmental Research Institute as one of ten faculty and staff members. In 2012, she was promoted to Assistant Principal at MAST Academy. After 5 years at MAST, covering both plant operations and curriculum, she was appointed to Miami Springs Senior High School as the Assistant Principal over Curriculum and one year later was selected as Assistant Principal of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year in her feeder pattern. Dr. Rodriguez is delighted to be at New World School of the Arts to serve our fine students, teachers, parents and community.

About NWSA: A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design. New World School of the Arts' rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more than 30 years.

Providing access is one of New World School of the Arts most important missions. Blind to academic standing at the onset, NWSA’s acceptance policy is based solely on artistic talent. This allows students from all backgrounds, ethnicities and socioeconomic status to compete for their spot in the school’s coveted arts programs based on their individual talent. Once accepted, students are expected to achieve both academically and artistically. Earning respected national merit and leadership-based scholarships such as the Gates Scholarship, Posse Foundation Scholars, and Presidential Scholars in the Arts, NWSA students have demonstrated over the years that a rigorous arts curriculum not only helps foster their passion and create the next generation or artists, but it also helps students engage and achieve excellence in any academic discipline.

New World School of the Arts has educated, trained, and cultivated a generation of artists who have become the artistic leaders of the future. Graduates from the high school and college programs of NWSA are award-winning artists, playwrights and performers with Academy, Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Bessie Awards. They are influential painters, sculptors and graphic designers, and their work thrives in museums and galleries, as well as on stages and concert halls around the globe. Our alumni are a source of inspiration to young artists from all walks of life in our community and in our state, and their success is a testament of the possibilities that emerge when the right blend of support and resources are engaged.

In 2020 U.S. News and World Report ranked New World School of the Arts #248 among 24,000 public high schools in the nation, #63 among all Magnet schools nationwide and #22 among all public high schools in the state of Florida. NWSA is one of only 15 Demonstration Schools in the U.S., named by Magnet Schools of America. Since 1989, its high school student body has garnered 21 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic excellence.

Information about the NWSA High School program is available by calling 305-237-3780 or visiting nwsa.mdc.edu.