Jamaica Plain's Craig Martin has been named the Thomas C. Passios Elementary Principal of the Year from the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association.
Martin has been the principal of the Michael J. Perkins School in South Boston 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,” said Martin via a press release. “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.”
Leadership reflects attitude and Martin's attitude has filtered into Perkins' students, as they have demonstrated steady gains in performance during Martin’s leadership. One example is that Latino students and English Learners at the school surpassed the state average for these groups in English language arts and mathematics in this year MCAS.
“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 Walsh. “Principal Martin's enthusiasm and dedication are what help make our schools such welcoming and wonderful places for all of our students.”
Statistically speaking, during 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.”
As principal Martin fostered 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, which was adopted in Boston.
The Perkins School has also encouraged physical fitness through the school’s Morning Mile Program, which was recognized in a visit in February by Olympic athletes Lolo Jones and Jordan Burroughs.
Martin describes three practices as key to his leadership: the power of feedback, publicize the praise, and joy matters. The weekly “Martin Memo” for staff publicizes the praise by highlighting examples of growth and the memo serves to promote innovation, excellence, and collaboration through the sharing of teaching practices.
Professionally, Martin is also the co-founder of the Boston Public Schools Leaders of Color and president of the Boston Elementary Principals Association. Martin was to be honored at a Boston School Committee meeting.