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Congratulations to MAESP National Distinguished Principal of the Year! 


Bel Air, Maryland – April 2018 – Tracy Hilliard, principal of Centerville Elementary in Frederick County was selected as Maryland’s 2018 National Distinguished Principal of the Year (NDP).   The award is presented each year as a collaborative effort between the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP).  The NDP program was established in 1984 to recognize elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.   

 Mrs. Hilliard received her award during MAESP’s Annual Leadership Conference in Cambridge on March 17th.  Mrs. Hilliard was not only surprised but humbled.   Mark Pritts, Instructional Director of Elementary Schools in Frederick County, wrote this about Mrs. Hilliard: 

“As Mrs. Hilliard’s supervisor, we applaud her constant and consistent efforts to lead the students, staff, and community daily at Centerville Elementary School.  Leading an elementary school that hovers near 1000 students each year is a tremendous responsibility, one that she embraces and looks forward to every fall.  One visit to her school and it will become clear why Centerville Elementary School was choses as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School, and Mrs. Hilliard is at the heart of its success”.

 Mrs. Hilliard was nominated and selected through a statewide search process conducted by MAESP.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Delaware State College in Dover, Delaware; Master’s Degrees from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland and is currently in a Doctoral Program through Seton Hall University in New Jersey.   Mrs. Hilliard has been principal at Centerville Elementary since 2013.  Prior to this assignment, she served as principal at Tuscarora Elementary School.

 Mrs. Hilliard is proud of her accomplishments including Centerville Elementary being named a 2016 Maryland Blue Ribbon School and a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School.    Centerville’s mission statement “where our stars shine bright” is exemplified by the daily actions of Mrs. Hilliard.  She greets her student scholars each morning and encourages and supports each student scholar in succeeding academically and behaviorally.  She has facilitated and sustained a collaborative partnership with parents strengthening the home-school connection through planned teaching and informational days and nights for parents to visit and to be a part of their ‘scholar’s’ learning.  The sessions included information on reading, writing and STEAM activities as well as information on productive struggle in math.  Along with her staff, Mrs. Hilliard is proud of her staff’s professional learning accomplishments and awards which includes local recognition for Outstanding Teachers of the Year and National Board Certification. 

The criteria for the National Distinguished Principal award are defined by NAESP and MAESP.  It requires that the applicant be a practicing principal with at least five years’ experience in the principalship.  The principal must demonstrate evidence of outstanding contributions to the community and to the education profession.   Mrs. Hilliard will join other state NDP recipients for a two-day recognition events and ceremony in Washington D.C. in October 2018.

The Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals is a joint member affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals located in Alexandria, Virginia.  MAESP is committed to advocacy, service, and support for its members.  Members include principals, assistant principals, aspiring leaders, retired leaders and central office supervisors and administrators.  MAESP is a professional organization that has been in existence since 1946.

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