Current Assistant Principal of the Year
Ms. Catherine Sutton from Calvert High School
2020 MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year
Catherine Sutton, from Calvert County High School, has been named the 2020 MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year. Dr. Daniel D. Curry, Superintendent, said, “She is a change maker at Calvert High and a very creative problem solver. We are so proud of her.” 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 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 also a National Board Certified Teacher in the field of English Language Arts. Catherine graduated from Patuxent High School and was assistant principal at Calvert Middle for three years before moving to that same position at Calvert High.
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.
In 2019, Ms. Sutton began a “Believe in You” student advisory program. She continues to meet 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 Calvalier Scholar signs in students’ front yards.