For Immediate Release - September 10, 2013


WORCESTER- Tuesday, September 10, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined Secretary of Education Matthew Malone and other state and local officials  to honor Worcester Technical High School Principal Sheila Harrity, this year’s National High School Principal of the Year in a surprise ceremony. Principal Harrity was awarded the title by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, which annually recognizes secondary school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

“Principal Harrity is an inspiration to leaders in education across the state and country,” said Governor Patrick. “She  understands that we have a stake in the next generation, and to leave this Commonwealth better than we found it, we must invest in the young minds that are our future. My sincerest congratulations and appreciation go out to Principal Harrity for this deserving honor.”

“The moment you walk through the doors of Worcester Tech you know you are in a special place,” said Secretary Malone. “This doesn’t happen by accident. The achievement levels are a direct result of meaningful leadership and a team that has a common goal. We can all learn from Worcester Tech and we should all strive to replicate what we see happening there.”

Principal Harrity assumed leadership of Worcester Tech in 2006, the year the school moved to a new, state-of-the-art facility. During her seven years at Worcester Tech, Harrity has seen the graduation rate grow by 17 percentage points (from 79.3 percent in 2006 to 96.4 percent in 2012) and the dropout rate fall from 6.5 percent in 2006 to 1.5 percent in 2012.

“NASSP has made an exceptional choice in naming Sheila Harrity as the 2014 National Principal of the Year,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. “Since arriving at Worcester Technical, Principal Harrity has implemented innovative reforms to boost the academic performance of all students and instill critical workplace readiness habits that are essential to student success after high school.”

“Principal Harrity, with her extraordinary passion for high-quality teaching and learning and relentless focus on student achievement, serves as a valuable contributor to the profession,” said Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone. “When she is faced with a goal that cannot be accomplished, she adjusts her approach rather than the goal. Principal Harrity continuously seeks to improve and serves as a model of excellence for her staff, students, and the learning community.”

Principal Harrity is the first Massachusetts principal to be named a national principal of the year in the program's 20-year history. She will be honored during a black-tie gala on September 20 in Washington, DC, to lead into National Principals Month.

The national principal of the year search began in early 2013 as each state principals association selected its state principal of the year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national high school winner and the national middle level winner (Sheena Alaiasa from Hawaii) were then selected.

The two national award winners will each receive a grant of $5,000 through the program. Grants must be used in the school to improve learning (e.g. a special school project or professional development). NASSP and MetLife are strongly committed to supporting the visions of unsung school leaders. Each year the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year program focuses attention on the outstanding work principals do in middle level and high schools across the country.

For more information about the program and winners, please visit

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