By Adianna Alston | AC JosepH Media
CHERRY HILL — Last year, Dr. Toni Damon has made history as the first African American female principal at Cherry Hill West High School but the North Philadelphia native is no stranger to making history.
Damon also became the first African American female principal at Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School in Philadelphia. Damon was honored with the Lindback Award for Distinguished Principal as recognition of her many contributions and achievements towards Murrell Dobbins CTE High School.
Damon is a well-rounded academic with numerous degrees to show for it. She received her bachelor’s in vocational education from Temple University, her master’s in special education from Cheyney University, as well as an education doctorate in instructional leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. She is also a member of the Rancocas Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Despite working in the cosmetology field for numerous years, Damon always had a strong desire to become a teacher and never stopped pursuing her dreams. Through her passion and creativity, Damon was able to secure a teaching position as a cosmetology instructor at Chester High School in Chester, Pa. She shares that she decided to continue her education in hopes of inspiring her students to do the same. She continued her education to support diverse and disabled learners while also obtaining administrative certification in vocational education and as principal.
Damon’s credentials secured her various administrative positions in locations such as Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia.
Damon’s philosophy is to serve with excellence so that others may have opportunities to be successful. She shares how while growing up, she never imagined that she would become such a prominent role model in the lives of others.
“I am a witness that hard work and pursuing your education pays off,” Damon told Front Runner New Jersey.
Damon’s personal role model is her mother. She shares how her mother got a job working at Temple University to ensure that her children would have access to a quality education.
“We never wanted for anything and my mother showed us that we really can live a wonderful life as long as you work hard,” Damon said.
Damon’s impact as principal of Cherry Hill West is already evident. She has spearheaded the introduction of two Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs which have received district approval. These programs include the business, marketing and finance program and the Design and Build program.
Damon describes the purpose behind these programs: “They are designed to provide rigorous academic instruction for our students that will prepare them for college and career.”
Students will also have the opportunity to earn up to 36 dual enrollment credits in addition to having access to internship opportunities. The program is partnering with Jefferson Health to provide students with first-hand experience within various departments of the hospital such as in human resources, maintenance and project management, or working directly with health care providers.
Damon said she looks forward to students taking advantage of these opportunities as well as her role serving as principal of Cherry Hill West.
“I’m just really excited to have this opportunity to work in Cherry Hill and be a part of this amazing, growing community,” she said. “I love the district’s commitment to diversity and equity and I’m glad to be a part of this team.”
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