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McDonald named school district administrator of the year

Robert Lewis Middle School Principal Zandra McDonald was named the Natchez-Adams County School District Administrator of the Year. She also won the award two years ago. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Robert Lewis Middle School Principal Zandra McDonald was named the Natchez-Adams County School District Administrator of the Year. She also won the award two years ago. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Zandra McDonald knows what it takes to make students better than they once were.

McDonald, who is the principal of Robert Lewis Magnet School, was named the Natchez-Adams School District 2014-15 Administrator of the Year.

Administrators from across the district vote for one administrator who they believe deserve the honor to be named Administrator of the Year.

“I know that we have a lot of talented administrators and just for them to identify me as the person they want to represent the district, that is a great honor,” McDonald said.

This is McDonald’s second time being named Administrator of the Year, the first being in the 2012-13 school year when she served as the assistant principal at Morgantown Middle School.

McDonald has been principal at Robert Lewis Magnet School since its inception in 2013.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

McDonald said it’s her philosophy to run the school by treating her students as if they were her children.

“When I come to work, I am mom to 323 children,” McDonald said. “I think when you recognize that everybody’s child is important — everybody’s child has potential — then that makes a difference.”

McDonald does not make it a point to leave her office on a regular basis. Instead, the principal makes it a point to work with teachers, students and parents.

“It takes all of us in order to make a successful school,” she said.

A former teacher, McDonald began working on her administrator degree so she could become a principle and be closer to students.

Although McDonald now leads Robert Lewis Magnet School as principal, her passion for teaching has not changed.

“I like going into the classrooms,” McDonald said. “I like interacting with students in the classroom, but I also like going in there to teach. “On any given day you may find me in math class teaching or you may find me in the science class doing an experiment.”

McDonald teaches her students to attend school as a good student, but to leave as a better student.

Robert Lewis Magnet School math teacher Eric Smith said McDonald has shown great leadership.

“I come to learn that for anything to succeed, you will need great leadership,” Smith said. “She was just that for Robert Lewis Magnet School.”

Smith said his favorite quality about McDonald is her ability to get certain tasks done.

“She gives her teachers exactly what they need in the class to be successful,” Smith said.

McDonald has served the Natchez-Adams School District since 1997.

She graduated from North Natchez High School in 1988. McDonald then attended Tougaloo College where she received a bachelor’s degree in English in 1992.

Following her time at Tougaloo College, McDonald attended Louisiana State University and received a master’s degree in English and later attended the University of Phoenix, where she received a master’s degree in supervision and administration.

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