Portland principal nominated for $100,000 award

Casco Bay High School principal Derek Pierce has been nominated for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s 3rd Annual Larry O’Toole Award. If selected, Pierce will receive a $100,000 grant for his school, which is located in Portland.

The Larry O’Toole Award is bestowed each year on a school leader or organization exhibiting great leadership through innovation in moving student-centered learning approaches forward in New England. There is one nominee from each New England state and no Maine school or organization has ever won this award.

For the first time in award history, the winner will be selected by online popular vote. To vote, please visit the Larry O’Toole Award page of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation website. Voting is open through noon on Sept. 30. One vote will be allowed for each valid email address.

“I am honored and humbled by this nomination. It represents an incredible opportunity for our students and our school,” said Pierce. After receiving word of his nomination, Pierce was asked to submit a spending plan for the $100,000 grant if it were to be awarded. Per Pierce’s plan, grant funds will be allocated for:

  • Student scholarships to take part in annual learning expeditions
  • Supplies and activities to expand a “Makers Lab” at the school
  • Micro-grants to students for projects that address local needs
  • Student-centered learning workshops for visiting educators

“Derek Pierce is an inspirational leader who exemplifies the students-first approach we value here in Portland,” said Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. “Mr. Pierce is an excellent representative of the great schools and leadership we have here in Portland.”

The Larry O’Toole Award is given by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF). The NMEF is a private foundation focused on school transformation in New England. NMEF is an advocate for student-centered learning approaches – learning that is personalized, engaging, competency-based and happens anytime-anywhere.

For more information about the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the Larry O’Toole Award, please visit www.nmefoundation.org.