Call it a clean sweep for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. The Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals has named North County High School Principal Dr. William Heiser its 2013 High School Principal of the Year and Southern Middle School Principal Jason Dykstra as its 2013 Middle School Principal of the Year.
Heiser, who has been at North County since 2010, and Dykstra, who has been at Southern since 2008, will now be considered for the national honors in their respective categories by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
“I am truly humbled by this award,” said Heiser, who has spent 15 years in education and worked in Anne Arundel County as an assistant principal at Annapolis High School before moving to North County. “It is a sincere privilege to serve the students, parents, teachers, and community of North County. This award recognizes all of our hard work and shared commitment to achieving greatness.”
In 2009, the year before Heiser arrived, North County seniors earned $1.7 million in scholarships. Last year, seniors earned $10.8 million in scholarships. The school’s SAT participation has climbed from 39 percent to 68 percent, and the number of Advanced Placement exams administered has grown from 369 to more than 1,100. Heiser has also spearheaded the
introduction of key business, community, and education partnerships that further enhance student achievement.
During his time at Southern Middle, Dykstra has overseen a dramatic rise in the school’s scores on the Maryland School Assessment. The percentage of sixth-graders, for instance, scoring proficient or advanced has risen 54 points in math and 45 points in reading during that time. In seventh- and eighth-grade math, the increases have been 60 and 51 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, the number of referrals and suspensions has sharply decreased. In the 2009-2010 school year, Southern had 988 referrals and 476 suspension days. Last year there were 666 referrals and 207 suspension days, and the numbers are projected to drop even further this year.
“It is an honor to represent the middle school principals in Maryland, and I am very proud of the work our teachers and students have done at Southern Middle School,” said Dykstra, who has spent more than 20 years in education and worked in Anne Arundel County since 2003. “Schools continue to raise the bar for our students and I feel very fortunate to work with an amazing group of professionals as we continue to meet the challenges ahead of us.”
MASSP Executive Scott Pfeifer said Heiser and Dykstra exemplify the types of principals every parent should want to have in their child’s school.
“Excellent principals today rely on networks of colleagues to assist them in keeping pace with ever changing reform agendas,” he said. “Bill Heiser and Jason Dykstra are great examples of school leaders whose involvement in MASSP has enabled them to create schools where students get personal attention, rigor is the norm, and teachers participate in a culture of collaboration to promote student learning.”