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School of Education

University of Delaware alumnus named Secondary School Principal of the Year

Shanta Reynolds, St. Georges Technical High School principal and University of Delaware (UD) alumnus, has been named Secondary School Principal of the Year by the Delaware Association of School Principals. Reynolds received his master’s degree in educational technology and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from the UD School of Education (SOE).

The Principal of the Year awards recognize outstanding middle and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students and have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the profession. Organizations from each state select representatives for consideration for the National Principal of the Year award.

Reynolds has served as principal of St. Georges Technical High School since 2012, where he previously served as an assistant principal. He began his education career as a social studies teacher at Delcastle Technical High School in 2000 and soon received recognition for excellence in instruction. In 2005, Reynolds was named the school’s Teacher of the Year as well as the Delaware Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He then served as social studies specialist for New Castle County Vo-Tech School District before accepting the assistant principalship at St. Georges.

 “Dr. Reynolds is the epitome of an instructional leader,” said Joseph Jones, superintendent of New Castle County Vo-Tech School District. “With his ability to fuse high standards with support and care for students, he has built an infrastructure of academic excellence where both students and teachers thrive—a hallmark of his tenure as principal. Our school district is proud to have his accomplishments recognized among his fellow educators.”

Reynolds completed his doctorate in educational leadership under the guidance of Elizabeth Farley-Ripple, associate professor in the SOE and director of the UD Partnership for Public Education. His capstone project focused on building distributive leadership capacity in high schools by developing school-based teams of teachers and administrators. With a focus on literacy, Reynolds demonstrated how these teams could help improve teacher practices.

“Dr. Reynolds’s work was largely about distributed leadership, a critical approach to building organizational capacity promoting instructional improvement. But what stood out to me in Dr. Reynolds’s work was that he took a design approach to the process. He didn’t simply look to the literature, pick a model and try to implement it. He thought deeply about his organizational structure, the needs and skills of the staff, and the goals they were trying to achieve,” said Farley-Ripple. “From this, he designed new organizational structures and routines to change what leadership looked like in St. Georges. The work was impressive and powerful. It was an honor to work with him and support him on the journey.”

Reynolds will represent Delaware in this year’s National Principal of the Year awards program and will participate in the national Principal’s Institute, usually held each year in Washington, DC.

“It is a privilege to be selected to represent the hardworking school administrators in our state,” said Reynolds.  “If you ask any administrator, they will tell you that the work we do is contingent on having a strong team. I am most fortunate to work with educators who are passionate about ensuring all students are learning and growing every day, and fortunate to work with a school community that believes in the St. Georges way of preparing students to be career and college ready.”

Article by Jessica Henderson 

Photo courtesy of New Castle County Vocational Technical School District