MARY ESTHER — Principal Dawn Massey from Florosa Elementary School was honored Wednesday with the 2017 Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Award.

Nine principals, who have all been recognized as instrumental in helping students achieve success in Florida's high-risk schools, were announced as winners Wednesday.

On April 19, the winners will be recognized at the annual Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards in Orlando, according to a press release from TaxWatch.

Three of those principals will take home top honors and an additional cash prize for their work with Florida students.

Winners are determined based upon an analysis of student achievement gains in reading and mathematics in schools that have high percentages of students with disabilities, students eligible for free and reduced lunch, and students designated as English as a second language learners, the press release said.

"This year's nine exceptional principals have dedicated their lives to assure that their students are successful, both in and out of the classroom," said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "Their innovative leadership and passion have created a solid learning environment that will guarantee a bright future for the state of Florida and its next generation of leaders."

In addition to being rewarded for their work, each winning principal will have an opportunity to select a student in their school to receive a two-year Florida College Plan Scholarship, as part of the Academic A+ Student Scholarship Program, the release said.