Baltimore County's Thomas Evans was one of only 10 principals across the nation to be presented the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.
The award is given to principals of National Blue Ribbon Schools. Evans' school, Eastern Technical High, received that designation at a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday.
Evans, 63, said the magnet high school was already a good school when he arrived three years ago and he has tried not to be complacent. "I wouldn't let us rest on our laurels. I was constantly working for ways to improve. We want to keep 'great' out there as some unattainable goal," he said.
Besides having a number of winning sports teams, 100 percent of the school's graduating seniors for the past two years have passed the High School Assessments. So far, he said, no one has needed to do bridge projects to get a diploma. Nearly all his students, he said, want to be at the school, so there is a high attendance rate and a lot of parental support.
Evans, an avid football and sports fan, started his career in Anne Arundel County and moved to Kansas City and then Baltimore County. He has been a principal for 30 years.
"I wouldn't say what I have done is completely different than what other principals do," he said, adding that he has tried to focus on collaboration among teachers and staff.
Terrel Bell was a U.S. education secretary. Evans said he was in the audience when Bell presented the landmark education report "A Nation at Risk" in 1983.