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NBRS Principal Named National High School Principal of the Year

Principal Sheila Harrity of Worcester (MA) High School, NASSP-MetLife 2014 Principal of the Year. (Photo: NASSP)

Principal Sheila Harrity of Worcester Technical High School (Worcester, MA), a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School, has been named the 2014 National High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)-MetLife Foundation.

Harrity assumed leadership of Worcester Tech in 2006. Although the school occupied a new state-of-the-art building, it was one of the lowest performing schools in Massachusetts. Under Harrity’s leadership, the school effected a dramatic turnaround: student proficiency rates in English and math have risen 61 and 43 percentage points, respectively, to 88% and 78%. The four-year graduation rate, up 17 points, exceeds 96%.

Tapping the expertise of more than 350 industry advisors, Principal Harrity fashioned a vision for Worcester Tech that prepared students to succeed in business, industry, and higher education. Working to improve one academic area at a time, she has increased Advanced Placement courses, expanded technical programs, and fostered dual enrollment opportunities with two-and four-year colleges. More recently, she guided Worcester to become a STEM-focused Innovation School. Worcester Tech earned the MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School award in 2011.

Watch a video featuring Principal Harrity.

Worcester Tech’s curriculum features immersive learning through project-based study and real-world application. Students operate a 125-seat restaurant, a salon/ day spa, an automotive center that services 250 vehicles a month, a full-service bank, and a state-approved pre-school. Building trades students built the school’s new “Tufts at Tech” veterinary clinic that provides affordable animal care for low-income families; and have also built a multi-family LEED-certified house for low-income Worcester residents. Through the Environmental Tech program, students provide the city with land maintenance and water testing services. Principal Harrity believes that the school’s success and the city and region’s success are intertwined.