Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy prin­ci­pal re­ceives state recog­ni­tion

Shields named Mary­land’s Na­tional Distin­guised Prin­ci­pal

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

As prin­ci­pal of Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy El­e­men­tary School, Kristin Shields wears a num­ber of dif­fer­ent hats, both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively, and ful­fills a num­ber of dif­fer­ent roles in her school and in the com­mu­nity. Now she’ll fill a new role, as Mary­land’s 2016 Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal.

Shields was in­formed of her se­lec­tion March 31 at her school by sys­tem of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pals, or MAESP.

“The NDP pro­gram gives recog­ni­tion to the best and the bright­est. It’s an op­por­tu­nity for prin­ci­pals to be rec­og­nized for the long hours, the sin­cere ded­i­ca­tion, great ideas and

mo­ti­va­tion that they dis­play as they lead their school com­mu­ni­ties,” Stephen Ha­gen­buch, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of MAESP, said in an email state­ment. “Kristin’s love for chil­dren and school com­mu­nity is demon­strated ev­ery day. It’s quite an honor to be se­lected as Mary­land’s NDP. Kristin is clearly an out­stand­ing prin­ci­pal and de­serv­ing of this honor.”

Although she knew she had been nom­i­nated, the an­nounce­ment came as a sur­prise, and in­volved stealth on the part of her staff to get her out of the build­ing long enough to pre­pare the sur­prise assem­bly.

“Dr. [Sylvia] Lawson, the as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of school ad­min­is­tra­tion and I went to do a home visit, and while we were out, the staff set up a sur­prise assem­bly, so when we came back, I was com­pletely shocked,” Shields said.

The Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pals pro­gram was es­tab­lished in 1984 to rec­og­nize el­e­men­tary and mid-level prin­ci­pals who set high stan­dards for in­struc­tion, stu­dent achieve­ment, char­ac­ter and cli­mate for stu­dents, fam­i­lies and staff in their learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pals web­site.

In ad­di­tion, Shields re­ceived $5,000 from MAE- SP’s part­ner, the K-12 pub­lisher Men­tor­ing Minds.

Also, Shields and other Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pals from around the na­tion are in­vited to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in Oc­to­ber for a two-day event and recog­ni­tion cer­e­mony.

Bar­bara An­der­son, a fourth grade teacher at Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy, was one of the teach­ers who nom­i­nated Shields for the award.

“She spends ev­ery wak­ing moment at the school. She’s here on the week­ends, she’s at ev­ery func­tion in Nan­je­moy. She does what­ever she needs to do for the stu­dents, staff, fac­ulty, every­one. She’s just a phe­nom­e­nal prin­ci­pal,” An­der­son said. “Out of all the prin­ci­pals nom­i­nated, it’s won­der­ful that she was picked. She’s very de­serv­ing.”

In her nom­i­na­tion let­ter, An­der­son de­scribed Shields’ in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing Christ­mas in Nan­je­moy, which pro­vides lo­cal fam­i­lies with a night of fes­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a hol­i­day feast, gifts, and a visit from Santa Claus, the Beaver Fun Run, an an­nual fundraiser for the school, and a back­pack pro­gram be­gun by Shields which pro­vides food and other ne­ces­si­ties to chil­dren in need.

“Mrs. Shields is in­volved in lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and is a rec­og­nized leader in the Nan­je­moy com­mu­nity,” An­der­son said in her nom­i­na­tion let­ter.

Another pro­gram Shields has be­gun in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the lo­cal Lions Club is the “Reach Out Read­ing” pro­gram.

“One of our goals for this com­mu­nity is to have our own book mo­bile, that’s our dream, so what we did last year, was we had this ‘trea­sure truck,’ we dressed up like pi­rates, we had books do­nated by the Lions Club and other or­ga­ni­za­tions, and we vis­ited 17 dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies,” Shields said.

Dressed as a pi­rate, Shields de­liv­ered “trea­sure chests” filled with books, phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion equip­ment, healthy snacks and math games to needy fam­i­lies dur­ing the sum­mer, and hopes to ex­pand the pro­gram next year.

“One of the big­gest things we try to do is to put books in the hands of chil­dren,” Shields said.

Shields has dressed up to take on a num­ber of dif­fer­ent roles at her school, from the “Writ­ing Doc­tor,” sup­port­ing stu­dents with writ­ing as­sis­tance, to “Chef Shields,” pro­mot­ing healthy snacks.

“I have a cos­tume closet, be­cause I dress in cos­tume quite a bit here,” Shields said.

Shields be­gan her teach­ing ca­reer in Prince Ge­orge’s County as an el­e­men­tary school teacher and a math spe­cial­ist, but came to Charles County Pub­lic Schools in 2000 as a vice prin­ci­pal at J.C. Parks El­e­men­tary. She served as an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy be- fore com­ing back in 2011 as prin­ci­pal.

Shields was named a Wash­ing­ton Post Dis­tin­guished Ed­u­ca­tion Leader in 2014, and was CCPS’s 2013-2014 Prin­ci­pal of the Year.

In An­der­son’s nom­i­na­tion let­ter, she said that Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy’s PARCC scores ex­ceeded state and county av­er­ages in grades 3 through 5 for math and grade 5 for read­ing.

Shields lives in the Nan­je­moy com­mu­nity and said it is the com­mu­nity which helps make the school strong.

“We’re a very close-knit fam­ily type of en­vi­ron­ment,” Shields said.

Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy par­ent and PTO pres­i­dent Jenn Brough said Shields is com­mit­ted to the role of the school in the com­mu­nity.

“Mrs. Shields works with the Nan­je­moy Com­mu­nity in ev­ery­thing that she does, co­or­di­nat­ing events to not over­lap, hous­ing events for the com­mu­nity, putting to­gether com­mu­nity projects such as our Thanks­giv­ing day din­ner for the se­niors, and back­packs sent home ev­ery week­end to those kids less for­tu­nate,” Brough said in an email. “The Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy com­mu­nity is very proud to have Mrs. Shields be named as Mary­land’s Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal.”

Shields said she is hon­ored and hum­bled to re­ceive the Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal Award, but said it is not just about her.

“It’s not just one per­son. It’s the part­ner­ship be­tween school teach­ers, staff, par­ents, stu­dents, the com­mu­nity and cen­tral of­fice; it’s all that sup­port that makes this school so won­der­ful,” Shields said.


Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Kristin Shields dis­cusses a math game with kinder­gart­ners Kay­lanne Cle­mons and Jay­den Gantt. Shields was named Mary­land’s 2016 Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal Award re­cip­i­ent.


Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy Prin­ci­pal Kristin Shields, third from left, was pre­sented with a check for $5,000 on March 31, when she was an­nounced as Mary­land’s re­cip­i­ent of the Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal Award. Pic­tured are, from left, Teresa Sher­man, Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tor Re­la­tions, Men­tor­ing Minds; Kim­ber­lyn Pratesi, Pres­i­dent of the Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pals; Shields, and Judy Walker, Na­tional Dis­tin­guished Prin­ci­pal Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee mem­ber, Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

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