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CBHS Principal Derek Pierce Named 2016 Maine Principal of Year

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CBHS Principal Derek Pierce Named 2016 Maine Principal of Year
Posted on 03/28/2016
This is the image for the news article titled CBHS Principal Derek Pierce Named 2016 Maine Principal of Year

Derek Pierce, principal of Casco Bay High School, has been named Maine’s NASSP Principal of the Year for 2016, the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) announced March 28. Pierce will be honored by the MPA at its annual awards banquet at its Spring Conference on April 28.

At a press conference held at the high school, the MPA said Pierce received the award based on his accomplishments as a strong educational leader, as a role model in the development of positive school culture and climate, building student-centered programs, and on his ability to inspire all those around him to meet the learning needs of every student, every day.

Pierce, in a speech expressing his gratitude for the award, said it is important because it shows that CBHS – the district’s newest high school, founded in 2005 – is “not a fad” but instead a model school in the EL Education (formerly called Expeditionary Learning) national school network.

 “We’re here, not just for good, but for great,” Pierce said.

In announcing Pierce’s selection, MPA Executive Director Richard Durost noted, “Derek Pierce has been the constant in the development of Casco Bay High School as a national model for expeditionary learning. His leadership as well as the commitment of the students, staff, and Portland School Department to provide an alternative educational options is commendable.”

He told CBHS students gathered to hear the announcement, “You have the best principal in the state.”

Students gave Pierce a loud standing ovation.

Portland Interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker said the honor awarded to Pierce is yet another accolade for CBHS that is “so deserved.”  She said the district is proud he will be “serving as our representative in excellence in secondary school leadership.”

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling said, "Derek Pierce is a jewel in Portland. I have worked with him for years in my capacity as the CEO of LearningWorks and now as mayor. I am beyond pleased that he is being recognized statewide for his excellent work with Portland school kids. We are lucky to have his skills in our community."

Pierce said many people played a role in helping him gain the recognition. Those he thanked included the Portland Board of Public Education, Crocker and other PPS staff, his family and the school’s students. “Thank you for choosing to be here,” he told the students. “You are our greatness.”

Durost noted that others in Portland have won MPA principalship awards. For example, he said, Michael McCarthy, the longtime principal of King Middle School who retired last year, was Maine’s 2010 Middle Level Principal of the Year.

Also, Interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker was Maine’s 2003 Principal of the Year when she was principal of South Portland High School.

Pierce received his Bachelor of Arts from Brown University in 1988 and his Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1993. In addition to being the principal at Casco Bay High School, he is also an Expeditionary Learning Mentor School Principal.

Pierce is the proud, founding principal of Casco Bay High School and was formerly the principal at Poland Regional High School and Whittier Middle School from 2002-2005. Prior to this he was the Dean of Faculty from 1998-2002. He has taught English, theater, and American Studies in schools from Los Angeles to Gorham from 1990 – 1998.

Pierce is a member of the Maine Principals’ Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He is on the Board for the Pierce Pond Watershed Trust and serves on the Center for Innovation in Education’s Advisory Council.

The Maine Principals’ Association is a professional association representing Maine’s K-12 educational leaders. The Association dates its history back to 1921 and focuses its work on promoting the principalship, educational leadership, and promoting and administering interscholastic activities in grades 9-12.

PHOTO CUTLINES: (Above) Pictured (from left) are School Board members Pious Ali and Marnie Morrione; CBHS Principal Derek Pierce; Interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker; and School Board members Stephanie Hatzenbuehler.

(Below) Pictured (from left) are CBHS Principal Derek Pierce and MPA Executive Director Richard Durost.


Derek Pierce and Richard Durost