News Release, Calvert County Public Schools
Prince Frederick, MD- Calvert High School’s Cathy Sutton has been named the 2020 Maryland Assistant Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).
Dr. Daniel D. Curry, the Superintendent, said, “She is a change maker at Calvert High and a very creative problem, solver. We are so proud of her.”
A graduate of Patuxent High School, Ms. Sutton began her career teaching English at Huntingtown High School, where she taught until she was hired as the English core lead at Calvert High. She served as the assistant principal of Calvert Middle for three years before moving to that position at Calvert High.
Dr. Steve Lucas, principal of Calvert High, said, “Ms. Sutton is a champion for every child. She is always thinking of others. She is a tireless leader, a devoted mother of four, and a super role model for everyone in our community. I can think of no better leader with whom I have worked to be recognized as the MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year.”
Ms. Sutton balances the daily tasks of administration with quality instructional leadership. Since her time as a core lead, she has successfully facilitated professional development and team planning, always with the goal of improving student learning. Most recently, she initiated a peer coaching model among the staff and created a climate in which teachers feel confident to collaborate and learn from one another.
Her greatest goal is to empower her students to become advocates for change in the world. To that end, as a new administrator at Calvert High, she supported the MAC scholars, a mentorship organization with an academic focus for African American males. Among other activities, she coordinated visits to feeder middle schools so that the high schoolers could inspire younger students to strive for success. Two years ago, Ms. Sutton attended a Teach to Lead conference with a team from Calvert High and became convinced of the benefits of proportional scheduling. Ms. Sutton spent countless hours on the logistical work of scheduling to ensure that all students have access to rigorous instruction in the academic setting that is the best fit.
Last year, Ms. Sutton began a “Believe in You” student advisory program. She meets regularly with student leaders, who then develop and deliver monthly mini-lessons to their peers, with a goal of helping them see life’s challenges as a platform to rise to the next level. She works with students to view the school as a community, not as pockets of groups. Under her guidance, the number of student leaders involved in the program doubled this year.
Because she understands the importance of a successful first year in high school, several years ago Ms. Sutton initiated and continues to coordinate a four-day Freshman Bootcamp for a group of incoming ninth graders. She also developed a freshman orientation day with pep rally spirit to help students feel excited and comfortable on their first day at Calvert High.
Ms. Sutton’s work is not confined to the walls of the school building. She organized the first back-to-school neighborhood block party for students and their families to celebrate the start of the year and meet school staff. She plans to make it an annual event, with the party held in a different area each year. She also initiated the Cavalier Scholars to recognize first-time AP students and students who earned a high score on the Maryland assessment. She found sponsors, had signs printed and traveled the region to place Cavalier Scholar signs in students’ front yards.
Ms. Sutton’s colleague Michelle Stover, a former English teacher who is now the Student Services Team facilitator, said, “Cathy has huge ideas and does the work to make them happen. She changes the narrative of kids’ lives.”
Ms. Sutton earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is currently enrolled in a Doctoral program and her Master’s degree at McDaniel College. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in the field of English Language Arts.
Ms. Sutton is the first assistant principal in Calvert County Public Schools to receive this award. She is now eligible to apply for the National Assistant Principal of the Year.