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CBHS Principal Wins Award for Exemplary Leadership

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CBHS Principal Wins Award for Exemplary Leadership
Posted on 11/09/2016
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Derek Pierce, principal of Casco Bay High School (CBHS), recently won the 2016 Silverberg Leadership Award from EL Education. The award is given to an exemplary school leader who has raised student achievement through deep implementation of EL Education practices. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

Pierce received the award at EL Education’s National Conference, held Oct. 27-29 in Detroit, Mich. EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning), is a leading education non-profit that is redefining student achievement in diverse communities across the country.

CBHS is a credentialed school in the EL Education national network of schools, and for 2015-16 was again selected as a “Mentor School” within the network.

The Silverberg Leadership Award was created by EL Education Board Member Irwin Silverberg. Silverberg presented the award to Pierce on Oct. 29, recognizing him for his leadership and management skills that have resulted in the successful implementation of EL Education pedagogy and culture.

In accepting the award, Pierce noted that “great leadership requires both great humility and the confidence to keep taking risks, to keep innovating, even amidst the inevitable failure.”

He added that being part of the EL Education network has taught him that “it’s all about the relationships...If the adults in your building really like each other  and share a vision for how to achieve excellence, then teachers can achieve the same joy in the hard work that we hope kids will experience.”

(To watch video of the award ceremony, click HERE.)

Leslie Appelbaum, a CBHS English teacher and literacy coach who nominated Pierce, said, “Derek deeply believes in his teachers and I have always felt that he seeks a conversation about the bettering of practice for all. I have found his observation routine to be so beneficial by making me think about the WHY behind the WHAT. He truly leads by example and is an inspiration in what he does, achieves and how he interacts with students and staff.”

A parent of a Casco Bay graduate said, “Students know that if they are doing well, Derek will find them and showcase their work and if they are doing poorly, he will seek them out to encourage or find the better, alternate route to meet the standards and excel at the culminations. It takes a special man like Mr. Pierce to gracefully and tirelessly help each student no matter what end of the spectrum of academics, behavior, attendance, or support from home, so that all students have equal opportunity to succeed, feel dignity and feel comfortable at school.”

At the national conference, CBHS student filmmakers Matice Maino, Evie Dodson and JoJo Ingabire showed the full-length documentary that the Class of 2017 created after the Junior Journey to Detroit last spring. "Detroit: Stories from Inside the City" premiered in Detroit. The students were on hand with CBHS English teacher Susan McCray to introduce the film and take questions afterwards. Some of the Detroit residents featured in the documentary also were on hand.