Casco Bay High School Principal Derek Pierce has won the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s 3rd Annual Larry O’Toole Award. He will receive a $100,000 grant for his school, which will be used to further student learning. The win marks the first time a Maine principal or school organization has won the award, for which there is one nominee from each New England state.
“It was a great honor to be nominated alongside transformational New England educators, students and organizations. Over the last three weeks, the depth and breadth of the passion shown by our students, staff, parents, alumni and community partners has been awesome,”
Pierce said. “I am also tremendously grateful for all of the support our school has received from Portland and Maine and the entire country. It is a great tribute to the excellent work our students and staff have done in our first decade.” Casco Bay High School was founded in 2005.
The winner was selected by online popular vote with Pierce receiving more than 6,000 votes, nearly twice as many as his competitors.
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.
The award funds will be used at Casco Bay High School as follows:
- $50,000 will be allocated to scholarships that ensure that all students, regardless of family income, can take part in annual learning expeditions
- $25,000 will be dedicated to supplies and equipment for “Maker Labs” so students would have more opportunity to explore, design, invent, experiment and create
- $15,000 will be reserved for micro-grants to students for projects that address local needs
- $10,000 will be used for hosting visiting educators and for leading student-centered learning workshops
“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.”