According to the Portland Public Schools website at http://www2.portlandschools.org/news/mccarthy-named-finalist-national-principal-year Portland has a principal who merits national attention.
“Michael McCarthy, principal of King Middle School, is a finalist for the 2011 National Principal of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to student achievement. Presented by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the award is given annually to one middle school principal and one high school principal.
There are six finalists. The two winners will be announced in September.
In his 21 years as its principal, McCarthy has transformed the once low-performing urban school to one that now holds a waiting list of students hoping to gain entrance. Serving the most diverse and economically disadvantaged student population in the state, King has certainly seen its share of challenges.
Despite those barriers, McCarthy has espoused a commitment to ensuring that all students succeed and that staff members are engaged and devoted to improved learning. Under McCarthy’s leadership, the school has eliminated tracking, moved to a flexible schedule, and instituted looping, an advisory program, and student-led portfolio conferences. “We have become the middle school where everyone matters and where everyone gets to the top of the mountain,” McCarthy said.
Each summer, McCarthy conducts wilderness training with staff members to foster a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. It was during one of those trainings that the group developed King’s vision to make sure that all students reach their full potential.
King now is seen as a model to other schools, both nationally and internationally. “We have hundreds of visitors to King every year, and they come primarily because of Michael’s reputation as a maverick; as an inspirational, forceful leader who holds to his bedrock belief that a school must be designed so that all learners can succeed,” said Hiram Sibley, King’s assistant principal.
The search for the National Principal of the Year began in early 2010 as each state principals’ association selected its State Principal of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, D.C., during the Principals’ Institute for State and National Principals of the Year, September 29-October 2, 2010.
McCarthy and each of the other five finalists will receive a $1,500 grant and the two national award winners will receive an additional grant of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g. a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).
For more information about the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year Program and winners, please visit www.principals.org/poy.
McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of New Hampshire in 1973, a master’s in educational administration from Salem (Massachusetts) State University in 1976 and a certificate of advanced graduate study from the University of Maine in 1987. Prior to his appointment as principal of King in 1988, he was principal of Bonny Eagle Middle School in West Buxton from 1980-88 and assistant principal at Waterville High School from 1977-80. From 1973-77, he taught at Roberts Junior High School in Medford, Massachusetts.
The author of numerous articles on school reform, McCarthy has given presentations throughout the United States and internationally. He is an adjunct professor in the educational leadership program at the University of Southern Maine and a national faculty member for Expeditionary Learning.
McCarthy has received numerous awards and honors. In 1996, he was Maine’s Principal of the Year (then a grade six-12 award). In 1997, he was one of four finalists for the National Principal of the Year award, and in 2008 he received the Maine Public Health Association’s Access to Health Care Award.”