School & District Management

S.C. Principal Wins National Honors

By Catherine Gewertz — September 28, 2009 1 min read

Lucy Beckham, the principal of Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., has been named the secondary school principal of the year.

The award is given annually by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and MetLife. Beckham learned of the honor during a surprise assembly at her school this morning.

With 3,200 students, Wando is the biggest school in South Carolina, and is one of the state’s highest-performing. In her 11 years there, Beckham has overseen the division of the school into five small learning communities and four career-related academies. Wando also serves as a site for the Southern Regional Education Board’s “High Schools That Work” initiative, which helps schools revamp to foster close relationships between students and staff, and customize school programs to students’ needs.

Each student has a “teacher advocate” with whom they meet weekly for group advising. They are also assigned to an administrator and counselor who track and support them all the way through high school. Wando’s academic offerings also came in for praise by the NASSP. The school offers 250 courses in 37 majors, and has garnered national recognition for many of its programs, including engineering and biomedical sciences. Its band and newspaper are top-rated as well.

Ms. Beckham mentors new principals in her school district, and shows the ropes to graduate students who serve school-administration internships there.

Beckham and the NASSP’s middle-level principal of the year, Sheila Kahrs Haymon of Morris Middle School in Winder, Ga., who was named earlier this month, will be honored at an awards banquet on October 16 in Washington.

You can read more about all six finalists on NASSP’s Web site, and see interviews with them on the organization’s YouTube space.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.