PIKESVILLE – When Jobria McDonald arrived for her first day of high school, she dropped her books on the floor.
In a vulnerable moment, she needed someone to lend a hand.
Her principal, Sandra Reid, offered a smile and assistance gathering her belongings.
Hang around Pikesville High long enough, and you will hear similar stories about how Reid supports students and staff any way she can. Which is why so many filed into Pikesville High’s Media Center eager to surprise her with great news.
Reid was named Maryland’s 2018 High School Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). She will be honored at the MASSP Spring Conference March 30 through April 1 and at a Maryland State Board of Education meeting in September.
But first came the Pikesville High celebration. She thought she was headed to a meeting. Instead, she was greeted by cheering students and staff. The school’s jazz band played. She was handed a bouquet.
Reid couldn’t stop smiling and thanking staff.
“She deserves it,” McDonald said. “She goes out of her way to help everyone.”
(Incidentally, McDonald would know. She received an honor in elementary school for helping saving the life of a classmate).
After being named BCPS Secondary Principal of the Year in 2016, Reid wasn’t looking for more personal accolades. She’s focused on celebrating Pikesville High, a BCPS Lighthouse School. Pikesville High media specialist Jennifer Meltzer, her school’s good news ambassador, inserts the phrase “Pawsome” where ever she can. She knows Reid will enjoy it because she always brings it up.
Reid keeps it upbeat.
“It’s nice to know you have a leader like that to support you,” Meltzer said. “She is unifying.”
Reid wasn’t the only one accepting a significant honor last week. While Reid was recognized by her Pikesville peers, Ridge Ruxton art teacher Patricia Lane-Forster was accepting the Peter J. Geisser Special Needs Art Educator Award at the NAEA Convention in New York.
At Ridge Ruxton School, where she was her school’s most recent Teacher of the Year nominee, she works with students with intensive special needs from ages 5 to 21. She customizes materials and strategies for each student.
Name the extracurricular activity at Ridge Ruxton and, chances are, Lane-Forster is part of it. She is her school’s service learning coordinator, equity liaison and the co-coordinator for art exhibits and the Very Special Arts Festival.
When Lane-Forster found out she would be receiving the NAEA honor in December, we asked her about why she enjoys teaching at Ridge Ruxton so much. She is in her third year at Ridge Ruxton. Previously, she was an art teacher at Dundalk Middle and Parkville High.
“Art becomes a place where my non-verbal students can express personal choices and preferences and where students with limited mobility can draw lines using a switch and a drawing robot,” she said. “I love being able to provide my students with an environment where they are praised and recognized for their talents.”
Our devoted staff members make us proud every day. It was wonderful to see two valuable Team BCPS members get recognized for the efforts … on the same day.