Mark Wilson's willingness to think outside the box has proven to be an invaluable gift to everyone in his school building. Not only are the students achieving academically, they and Mark's staff have a sense of connection and belonging at Morgan County High that is undeniable. We congratulate him on receiving this honor
Reston, VA (Vocus) September 2, 2008
Mark Wilson, principal of Morgan County High School in Madison, Georgia has been named the 2009 MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals National High School Principal of the Year. He was surprised with the news during an assembly at his school on August 28th. This is especially exciting for the state of Georgia as Molly Howard, principal of Jefferson County High School in Louisville, Georgia, is the current National High School Principal of the Year.
Wilson, who has been principal of Morgan County High for five years, implemented several ground-breaking methods to help increase student achievement at his school. Not only did the graduation rate have a double-digit increase, the achievement gap between white and black students in English/Language Arts was narrowed dramatically.
In revamping the way Morgan County High was run, Wilson and his staff agreed to a late arrival for students on Thursday of each week, allowing teachers to have an hour and a half of uninterrupted collaborative time. A school leadership team was formed and in one of the most daring moves, Wilson and the team agreed to do away with the "interval-averaging" method of grading and decided to move to "continuous grading." They believe that because each student learns at a different pace it is important that students are noted for their mastery of a subject or lesson when they achieve it.
"Mark Wilson's willingness to think outside the box has proven to be an invaluable gift to everyone in his school building. Not only are the students achieving academically, they and Mark's staff have a sense of connection and belonging at Morgan County High that is undeniable. We congratulate him on receiving this honor," stated NASSP executive director Gerald N. Tirozzi.
"We applaud Mark Wilson for his creativity and leadership in engaging his staff and inspiring his students," said Thomas G. Hogan, Jr., senior vice president and head of MetLife Resources. "He has created a high standard of excellence at Morgan County High, helping students realize their potential and building a high-performing organization."
"Successful schools are dependent upon the dedication and ingenuity of their leaders," noted Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "The MetLife/NASSP Principal of the Year program recognizes this critical role."
Among the successes attributed to Wilson and his dedicated staff is an increase in the graduation rate from 71% in 2004 to 81% in 2007. The achievement gap between African-American and White students in English/Language Arts went from 18% in 2004 to 0.9% in 2007. The number of African-American students meeting the standards in mathematics rose from 32% to 61% in four years. Morgan County High also saw a tremendous growth of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. In three years, the numbers rose from 30 students in those classes to over 300. Morgan County High is flourishing under Wilson's guidance and students and faculty say they can't imagine a better recipient for the National Principal of the Year Award.
Wilson will be honored during an awards banquet on October 25th in Washington, D.C. The search for the National Principal of the Year began in early 2008 as each state principal's 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. Then, a national middle level winner and a national high school winner are selected.
The six finalists each receive a $1,500 grant. The two national award winners receive an additional grant of $3,500. The grants are used to promote the advancement of learning opportunities for students or other related investments such as capital improvements, the purchase of technology-related equipment, or funding specific educational programs.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals and MetLife are strongly committed to supporting the visions of unsung school leaders. Each year the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs focus attention on the outstanding work principals do in middle level and high schools across the country. These individuals are recognized for their accomplishments as high-achieving principals, all the while making a daily investment in our children's future.
For more information about the MetLife/NASSP State and National Principal of the Year programs and winners, please visit http://www.principals.org/awards or call Leisl Bauman at 703-860-7308.
NASSP is the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NASSP provides its members with the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP administers the National Honor Society™, National Junior Honor Society™, National Elementary Honor Society™ and National Association of Student Councils™. For more information, visit http://www.principals.org.
MetLife Resources, a division of MetLife, provides retirement plans and other financial services to healthcare, education, and not-for-profit organizations. Celebrating 140 years, MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its domestic and international subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, please visit http://www.metlife.com/mlr.
Shana Kemp, NASSP
Judi Mahaney, MetLife
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