April 13, 2012
Moravia principal best in state
Middle School Principal of the Year trying for national honors
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Moravia Middle School Principal Bruce MacBain was named Middle School Principal of the Year this week by the School Administrators Association of New York State.
MORAVIA — Bruce MacBain says he still feels a certain nostalgia when he walks past his old classroom at Moravia Middle School.
“I miss the classroom teaching every day,” said the former social studies teacher, who has been the school’s principal since 2000-01.
But MacBain said he finds other ways to teach, through disciplining students or helping teachers collaborate on the school’s interdisciplinary programs.
MacBain, 49, was named the state’s Middle School Principal of the Year this week by the School Administrators Association of New York State. He is now a candidate for 2013 National Middle School Principal of the Year, from MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
He will receive the state honor on May 4 at the administrators’ association gathering in the Albany area, where 10 awards are given for different kinds of administrators.
The national finalists for top middle and high school principal — one of each — will be announced in July and the winners will be announced in September, in Washington, D.C. The finalists each receive a $1,500 grant for their schools.
MacBain said he will be interviewed by a selection committee this summer.
He is not sure when or where that will happen but said state officials have talked about preparing him for the interview process.
“We’ll walk him through the process,” said Michelle Hebert, communications director for the SAANYS.
Hebert said MacBain was selected from 12 candidates for top middle school principal in the state, representing each region.
MacBain taught social studies at the school from 1990 until 2000, while he finished his advanced certificate of study at SUNY Cortland to become an administrator.
He said his time as principal has been marked by steady growth in teaching through an interdisciplinary approach, using a book as the starting point at each grade level for connecting lessons in other subjects.
“You start with the book and then the teachers meet over the summer in a collaborative process,” he said. “You can connect not just history but other subjects to it. We have the home and careers teacher, the Spanish teacher. We take it beyond the usual level.”
MacBain said his enthusiasm remains as high as ever, even for handling problems with students, since he regards disciplining students as teachable them.
He received a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Cornell University in 1984, and a master’s degree in history and education and a law degree in 1989, both from Syracuse University.
He has received education honors from Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES and Moravia Central School, and the school’s seventh grade teaching team received a national honor in 2010, but this was his first attempt at state honors for himself.
He said he was persuaded to submit his name for the state award by English as a Second Language teacher Jeff Green, who wrote a recommendation letter along with Superintendent of Schools Michelle Brantner, special education chair Chris Fisher and Jane Manning, Parent Teacher Association president.
MacBain had to write an essay showing his experience with personal excellence, collaborative leadership, making the school atmosphere more personal and improving teaching and learning.
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