Words: Miranda Mason
Centennial Principal Claire Hafets received The Washington Post’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award during a surprise ceremony on Thursday, April 9. Hafets was greeted with applause as she walked into the Media Center for what she expected to be a Student of the Month event; instead, students and staff gathered to cheer on their principal as she was awarded with gifts, accolades and opportunities.
In addition to the award itself, Hafets received a signed letter from the Superintendent of Schools and the portfolio the Centennial community put together for her nomination. Hafets will also have the opportunity to join a cohort group of distinguished leaders throughout Maryland and Virginia, and as a recognition of Centennial’s success under Hafets’ leadership, the school will receive new technology within the year.
“I feel very fortunate to be part of this community,” said Hafets to the audience of students and staff that came to cheer her on as she was given the award. “None of this would have been possible without you.”
According to the nomination form, recipients of the Distinguished Educational Leadership Award must be principals who are committed to their schools and their students, both in fostering creativity and working to help them succeed. The form also lists several traits the award committee looks for in a recipient, and members of the Howard County community mentioned many of those traits when they were asked about Hafets’ work as Centennial’s principal.
“She is the biggest advocate I’ve ever seen for Centennial High School,” said David Bruzga, the director of high schools for Howard County. “She’s brought outstanding energy to the school, and she’s helping continue its commitment to excellence.”
“I have known Mrs. Hafets of a number of years, and I have always been impressed with the passion she brings to the position,” said Howard County Public School System Chief of Staff Sue Mascaro, who was part of the team that presented Hafets with the award. “She does an excellent job inspiring students to achieve. It’s no surprise that under her leadership in 2014 Centennial High was recognized as the top high school in the state.”
Hafets will be featured as a recipient of the award in The Washington Post, and she will also be honored at a formal award ceremony in May.
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