Glen Messier, principal of Mechanicsville Elementary, was surprised by his staff, supervisors and wife Wednesday morning in the lobby of the school and presented with an award.
It was the first time the National Distinguished Principal Award was given to an administrator in Carroll County. The Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals, or MAESP, chose Messier for the honor.
“Never did I ever think that I would actually be selected to represent Maryland,” Messier said. “That’s a huge honor and a huge victory for Carroll County Public Schools.”
The National Distinguished Principals program has recognized elementary and middle school principals for 37 years who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for students, families and staff in their learning communities.
Messier said he sees the win as a shared award because he couldn’t have done it without his staff. He was nominated by an assistant principal before filling out an application that included four letters of recommendaiton.
“Glen is someone I call a service leader,” Terry Ball, executive director of MAESP, said. “He definitely understands why he’s in the profession that he’s in and wants to support students and teachers to be the best they can be.”
Ball added that he supports them with encouragement, empowerment and celebration, which is hard to do during a pandemic.
Steve Wernick, director of elementary schools, said the award is about administrators who show leadership, compassion and commitment to the students, staff and families. He said Messier “has gone above and beyond in supporting not only his staff but his community needs.”
Messier is in his fifth year as principal of Mechanicsville, and he loves it, he said, because every day is different and he’s often faced with new challenges. The pandemic is one of them.
“If anything, this pandemic has brought us closer,” he said.
Messier, who used to work in Montgomery County, said CCPS is a special place where the community is tightknit and he can depend on his coworkers. He’s also close with the community and tries to be as transparent with them as possible.
“I feel like it’s important for them, for the walls to almost be broken down,” he said.
With the pandemic, Messier said he doesn’t want to sugarcoat anything. And when schools were opening to at least four days a week, he told parents 3 feet would be the maximum distance of separation in the classroom for students. Messier said he was happy students were back, 85% opted for in-person learning, but wanted parents to make the best calculated decision before students returned.
Messier serves on the MAESP executive board and attended national conferences in the past. In 2018, he went to Orlando where he friended a Howard County principal who won the same award last year.