The National Association of Secondary School Principals has honored Paul Robeson High School’s Principal Richard Gordon with the “National Principal of the Year” award.
According to data provided by KYW Newsradio, the important acknowledgment was granted for his extraordinary work in the improvement of the West Philly high school.
In 2013, Paul Robeson High School was one of Philadelphia’s 30 lowest-performing schools. Given its low enrollment and poor performance, the school district considered closing the institution.
However, Richard Gordon, the new principal at the time, encouraged students to focus properly on their learning goals. He helped them to determine their interests and build an educational path to their goals. Under Gordon’s leadership, Robeson now boasts a 95% graduation rate.
His achievements at the West Philly School caught the attention of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP chief communications officer Bob Farrace, in a conference call with reporters, said Gordon was a source of inspiration for his students and staff.
Richard Gordon, an inspiring principal
“Mr. Gordon impressed everyone with his innovation to do the two things that every principal aspires to do. To create a safe and inclusive learning environment for students and (…) lead the kind of learning that revolves around each student’s motivations,” said Farrace.
Richard Gordon emphasized that the most relevant aspect of educational efforts is working together.
“It’s one thing for it to come from the administrator. But to be able to have teachers who also are willing to step up and speak out on making sure that we are always on the right path and working collaboratively. I think that’s one of the things that we do right every single day,” Gordon said. “Everyone understands that we’re accountable to a singular mission. And that that mission is bigger than any one individual.”
Farrace said Richard Gordon’s leadership, however, should be singled out. “All of those groups are playing a huge role in the school’s success. But we have to remember also just how much principal leadership matters,” he said.