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Boston Public Schools Principal Craig Martin Named Mass. Elementary Principal of the Year
Boston Public Schools (BPS) Principal Craig Martin, leader of the Michael J. Perkins Elementary School in South Boston, has been named the 2018 Thomas C. Passios Elementary Principal of the Year from the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA).
Martin, who has served as principal of the Perkins School since the 2013-14 school year, will also represent the Commonwealth in the National Distinguished Principal Program, sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, in Washington, D.C., in October.
“I am greatly honored and humbled to be named Massachusetts Elementary Principal of the Year,” Martin said. “The students at the Perkins School have made tremendous strides, and it could not have happened without the growth of positive relationships and teamwork between the students, teachers, families, and administration.”
Students at the Perkins have demonstrated steady gains in performance during Martin’s leadership. This year’s MCAS results show Latino students and English Learners at the school surpassed the state average for these groups in English language arts and mathematics.
“Congratulations to Principal Martin and the Perkins School community. It’s fantastic to see such a passionate educator from the Boston Public Schools held up as an example for school leaders across Massachusetts,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Principal Martin's enthusiasm and dedication are what help make our schools such welcoming and wonderful places for all of our students.”
As principal, Martin emphasizes compassion and relationship-building with students and families to ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment for all.
Under Martin’s leadership, the Perkins School reduced suspensions by 50 percent and chronic absenteeism by 22 percent from 2012 to 2017.
“Congratulations to Principal Martin and the Perkins School community for receiving this tremendous honor,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “Craig is energetic, passionate and committed to the Perkins, and through his dedication he has found a way to meet the vast needs of his students and place them on a pathway to success.”
Eighty percent of students at the Perkins, which serves grades K-5, are economically disadvantaged, and 32 percent do not speak English as their first language.
“I am proud of Principal Craig Martin and how his work is being elevated as a model for educators statewide,” said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. “Under Principal Martin’s strong leadership, the school has adopted practices that foster the social-emotional growth of students. This has greatly helped improve their academic success and the climate of the school. Congratulations to Principal Martin and the Perkins School community.”
Martin initiated a partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide staff training to enhance social-emotional support and safety for students. He also adopted the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Program, modeled after an effort begun by President Barack Obama and adopted in Boston by Mayor Walsh.
Additionally, the Perkins encourages physical fitness through the school’s Morning Mile Program, which was recognized in a visit in February by two Olympic athletes, Lolo Jones and Jordan Burroughs.
“When it comes to the students at the Perkins School, Principal Martin is all in,” said Christine Landry, instructional superintendent for BPS. “Mr. Martin is able to coalesce staff around a deep commitment to equity and instructional improvement. These results come from long and dedicated hours of planning, analysis of data and practice, and leveraging relationships to make education the number one focus.”
Martin describes three practices as key to his leadership: “the power of feedback, publicize the praise, and joy matters!” Each week, his Instructional Leadership Team identifies “Instructional Look Fors,” which become the basis of his observations and feedback in classrooms.
A weekly “Martin Memo” for staff publicizes the praise by highlighting examples of growth. The Memo serves to promote innovation, excellence, and collaboration through the sharing of teaching practices. In the spirit of joy, Martin leads efforts to celebrate and recognize the achievements of every “MJP Scholar,” underscoring the school message: “We are strong, bold, and built to master challenges in a safe and respectful community.”
Professionally, Martin has presented at the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) conference and organized the Brown Boys EdCamp for educators. He is the co-founder of the Boston Public Schools Leaders of Color and president of the Boston Elementary Principals Association.
He began his education career as a teacher and technology specialist in the Boston Public Schools in 2005. Martin holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Dillard University in New Orleans and an M.Ed. from Lesley University in Cambridge.
Martin will be honored at an upcoming Boston School Committee meeting.