Frederick County Public Schools announces that Centerville Elementary Principal Tracy Hilliard was recently named the 2018 National Distinguished Principal for Maryland. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) collaborated in presenting the annual award.
The National Distinguished Principals program was established in 1984 to recognize excellence in elementary and middle level principals’ school leadership. The award honors Principal Hilliard for setting high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for students, families and staff.
Parent Ashleigh Duclos, who contributed a letter of support for Hilliard’s nomination, wrote: “I have had the pleasure of getting to know and interact with Mrs. Hilliard for the past five years. She is an exceptional leader…. She makes sure to get to know each student and takes time to listen to their stories, engage in their interests and care about their academic achievements…. She is a visible leader who the children know and trust and feel comfortable going to with a problem or with positive news.
“Parents are invited and encouraged,” Duclos continues, “to come and celebrate their child’s achievements…. As a parent, I feel very informed about the events that are occurring in our school…. She is an approachable and responsive principal who is always willing to sit down and talk, no problem is too big or too small, the children come first.”
Principal Hilliards’ supervisor is Elementary Instructional Director Mark Pritts. He also supported her nomination with a letter, describing her as the comprehensive school leader that every school community needs for exemplary student achievement. He adds that putting kids first has been the primary driving factor for Centerville Elementary School’s (CES) rise to state and national Blue Ribbon School recognition.
“She analyzed the student data team discussion process,” says Pritts, “and began leading the staff by sharing her vision for creating increased opportunities for teacher leadership. She models risk taking, encouraging staff to bring forth new ideas and initiatives to move the school forward, as well as leading and joining staff in professional learning opportunities.”
He also cited Principal Hilliard’s regularly scheduled Principal Chats, open to the community, along with literacy and math nights, STEM night and presentations to the PTA that always end with open dialogue as examples of award-worthy leadership as well as her daily positive interactions with her school community.
“Leading an elementary school that hovers near 1,000 students each year is a tremendous responsibility, one that she embraces and looks forward to…. One visit and it will become clear why Centerville Elementary was chosen as a Blue Ribbon School, and Mrs. Hilliard is at the heart of its success!” Pritts concludes.
Principal Hilliard is invited to join with other state winners for a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC in October. State-level is the highest recognition given in the National Distinguished Principal program.