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Casco Bay High School Principal Derek Pierce Receives Silverberg Leadership Award

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    April Hattori

Derek Pierce, Principal of Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning in Portland, ME, has received the Silverberg Leadership Award in recognition of his skills in leading his high school to excellence for students through successful implementation of EL Education pedagogy and culture. He received the award on October 29th at the EL Education 2016 National Conference in Detroit.

Derekand Irwin

The Silverberg Leadership Award, created by EL Education Board Member Irwin Silverberg, 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.

In accepting the award, Derek 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, 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.”

A Casco Bay teacher who nominated Derek noted that he: “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 [Derek] 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.”

Educators nominated for the EL Education Silverberg Award must: 

  • Catalyze positive leadership as a shared function in EL Education schools from teachers, parents, and students.
  • Inspire teachers and students to embrace the EL Education culture of quality and collegiality.
  • Create an atmosphere of engagement and high standards for both learning and character.
  • Set a “higher bar” for and recognize excellence among teachers and students.
  • Encourage innovation while providing teachers the means to explore outstanding practices employed in the EL Education community. 

In addition to Derek, nominees for the 2016 Silverberg Leadership Award were: 

  • Avis Cunningham: River Bluff High School - Lexington, SC 
  • Amy Dent Meadow: Glen Middle School - Lexington, SC 
  • Susan Durkee: Four Rivers Charter Public School - Greenfield, MA 
  • Stephanie Gallegos: Lake County Intermediate School - Lake County, CO 
  • Jeff Heyck-Williams: Two Rivers Public Charter School - Washington, DC 
  • Michelle Navarre and Roel Vivit: Polaris Charter Academy - Chicago, IL 
  • Jocelyn Smith: Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary School - Arbor Vitae, WI 
  • Sheela Webster: World of Inquiry School #58 - Rochester, NY

Watch Derek's full speech here.