BOSTON (March 23, 2017) – Veteran educator Michael Browne, principal at Pocomoke Elementary School inMaryland, was named the Maryland 2017 National Distinguished Principal by the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP). Browne was awarded a check for $5,000 through the sponsorship of national K-12 publisher Mentoring Minds, a partner of MAESP. He will be honored along with his fellow state winners during the 2017 National Distinguished Principal event in October in Washington, D.C.
“When you hear Mr. Browne’s story, you quickly realize how transformative leaders can improve learning for students—no matter what challenges they face,” said Robert Bush, CEO Mentoring Minds. “We are proud to partner with MAESP to recognize his leadership and innovation and congratulate him as Maryland’s 2017 National Distinguished Principal. The students and teachers at Pocomoke Elementary School are lucky to have him.”
Browne has been principal at Pocomoke Elementary School for five years, having served as assistant principal for eight years prior. Under his leadership, the school has seen dramatic gains in standardized test scores. At the beginning of the 2015–2016 school year, 21 percent of students were performing on or above grade level in reading and math. By the end of the school year, 97 percent were performing at or above grade level in math and 79 percent of students in reading.
Browne’s colleagues praise his ability to successfully navigate a geographically large, economically and socially diverse school community, in addition to his diligence in building and maintaining a school sensitive to the needs of all students.
Louis Taylor, superintendent for Worcester County Public Schools, said, “Mr. Browne is an exemplary school leader. Since Mr. Browne was named principal at Pocomoke Elementary School, students have seen tremendous growth in standardized test scores, but testing data only gives a small glimpse into the nurturing instructional environment Mr. Browne has created.”
The school’s turnaround has spurred recognition by the Maryland Department of Education as one of the state’s top 10 elementary schools in the area of math. Based on Maryland School Assessment Math Scores for 2013, Pocomoke Elementary tied for number one in the state among elementary schools with similar demographics, having a free-and-reduced meals population greater than 50 percent.
Among the other accolades Pocomoke Elementary School has earned with Browne at the helm includes a Maryland Superlative Highest Performing Rewards School status for outstanding performance in the areas of reading and math, recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School, a Maryland Blue Ribbon School, a Maryland Superlative Highest Performing Rewards School and a National Distinguished Title I School.
“The NDP program gives recognition to the best and brightest, offering an opportunity for principals to be recognized for the long hours, sincere dedication, great ideas, and motivation they display as they lead their school communities. It is quite an honor to be selected as Maryland’s NDP. Michael is clearly an outstanding principal and deserving of this honor,” said Stephen Hagenbuch, executive director of the MAESP. “We are proud to work with Mentoring Minds on this initiative. It is an outstanding corporate partner and provides tremendous support to our organization and Maryland principals. It is the sole sponsor of our NDP Award and we are fortunate to have it on board as part of our MAESP family.”
Browne earned an associate degree in music from the Community College of Philadelphia and a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, he obtained a master’s of education in school administration and a master’s of education in school counseling from Wilmington University of Delaware, where he also holds a post-master’s certificate in applied technology in education. He currently attends Wilmington University in its doctorate of education program with a concentration in school leadership and supervision.
About the National Distinguished Principals Program
The National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. Established in 1984, the program recognizes and celebrates principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities. The program is based on three fundamental ideas:
·Children’s attitudes towards learning and their perceptions of themselves as lifelong learners are established in the beginning school years.
·The scope and quality of children’s educational experiences are determined primarily by the school principal, who establishes, through the important work of teachers and the support of caring parents, the character of a particular school's program.
·The dedication and enthusiasm of the outstanding principals who guide children's early education experiences should be acknowledged to both show appreciation for their work as well as to allow them to serve as models for others in the field.
About Mentoring Minds, the Critical Thinking for Life company
Mentoring Minds is a national K-12 publisher with a mission to put critical thinking at the center of the classroom in order to support student achievement and empower educators to teach to higher standards. Mentoring Minds’ award-winning, research-based resources are designed to be flexible for classroom needs, supporting technology integration and standards mastery for Math, ELA and Science. Mentoring Minds’ commitment to education extends beyond the classroom, as well; the company proudly sponsors groundbreaking administrators across the nation and supports community-based education initiatives through MindShare, an employee-driven grant program. For more information, call 800-585-5258 or visit mentoringminds.com.