2016 Heart of the School Awards Finalist

James Dendinger

Eight years at Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School in Federal Hill


James Dendinger has engaged parents and his community in the success of his school. When he became principal, there were three parents in the Parent Teacher Organization. Now, meetings are regularly attended by 40-50 parents and there are over 100 parents who are actively involved in the school community. Much of this success can be attributed to his open-door policy with parents and his caring personality. As one parent said, “He has made such a tremendous impact on our children, the school & the community. He is extremely professional yet is very approachable.” Under his leadership, the school has grown from 340 to 550 students, and he has increased the number of school partners dramatically. Mr. Dendinger is a hands-on leader who attends and participates in teacher and data meetings, and cares deeply about the success of the school and its students.