NOTE: Printed in special “Principal of the Year” section.
By Brenda Maguire
Curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
These were the three categories an independent selection committee looked at when choosing New Britain High School Principal Michael Foran as the 2012 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year.
“From that criteria, he was the one who embodied those traits the most,” said Leisl Moriarty, associate director of recognition programs and national conference of the NASSP.
Bob Farrace, senior director for communications and development at NASSP, said via e-mail that Foran was able to promote personalization with teaming structures and a Freshman Academy to create a more personal environment for students and teachers.
“With a big school like that, personalization is difficult and he did that,” said Ken Griffith, president of NASSP.
Foran’s achievement in the curriculum, instruction, and assessment category goes further than simply aligning the curriculum. Farrace also mentioned his impressive data analysis. He keeps test, attendance and discipline data in order to help teachers evaluate student performance.
“From his first day as principal, Mike galvanized the efforts of the whole staff toward a singular vision: the academic achievement- the college and career readiness- of every student in the school,” Farrace said.
Foran was able to demonstrate collaborative leadership by scheduling time for teachers to work together both within and outside of academic departments, which helped to develop teacher leadership.
“He took his staff quietly into collaborative leadership as they rewrote the curriculum,” Griffith said, who noted that Foran’s collaboration with the community through programs such as the Health Academy gave him an advantage.
The selection process starts with a Principal of the State selected for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. From there, the principals are narrowed down to three finalists before the ultimate winner is chosen. The Principal of the Year receives a $5,000 grant.
MetLife/NASSP has been choosing the High School Principal of the Year and the Middle School Principal of the Year since 1992. Foran is the first Connecticut principal to receive this honor.
Griffith said what ultimately put Foran ahead was, “the size of the school, the diversity and how he personalized it with the staff and students.”