May 2019 Print

Executive Director Report

After 45 years working in public education, it is finally time to say goodbye.  I have had a wonderful career (my 20 years as a high school principal were the apex) and capping it by serving school administrators in Maryland in my current role was quite special.  


I inherited a healthy organization from Gene Streagle 7 years ago and am proud that the organization has grown--in membership, in services, in outreach, and financially--during my tenure.  The last two years have been tough as district budgets have gotten tight and demands on administrator's time has increased.  But no question, MASSP is healthy.  


The best memories surround the talented administrators around the state that I have come to know and respect.  Add to that the relationships I have formed at our National Organization, NASSP and the pride I feel in being honored by them with their Distinguished Service Award last year.  


Thanks to all for your support of MASSP and me these past seven years.  I am thrilled long time friend, colleague, and mentee Addie Kaufman is taking over the reigns.  Everyone will love Addie and I have no doubt she will write similar things at the end of her tenure as she takes MASSP to new heights.  


I already have trips planned to Hawaii, across the country in my RV to pursue my goal of visiting EVERY National Park, and South America (Chile and Argentina) in January.  And that is just a start.

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Greetings from the New Executive Director Addie Kaufman

I am so excited to begin my tenure with the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).  On July 1, 2019, I will take over the role that Scott Pfeifer has held for the last seven years.  It is with both pride and trepidation that I pursue this new venture in my life.  The pride stems from the fact that I have been a member of MASSP since my first year as an Assistant Principal (1990), under Scott, in Howard County.  This is an organization in which I have been involved as a member, Board member/President, recipient of Assistant Principal and Principal of the Year, and attendee at both State and National conferences.  The trepidation stems from the fact that I am following someone who has been a colleague, mentor, role model, and friend for many years.  Scott has done an outstanding job of placing MASSP on the map in the State of Maryland, increasing membership, and offering diverse learning opportunities for members and aspiring leaders.   I have big shoes to fill, and I am excited to do so!  Please join me in wishing Scott Pfeifer well as he begins this new chapter of his life with his lovely wife Marian.  I wish them safe travels, health, and happiness!

Joining me in the leadership of MASSP is Mrs. Veronica (Ronnie) Bohn, also from Howard County.  Ronnie and I worked together, under Scott, at Atholton High School.  Ronnie went on to become an Assistant Principal and then Principal at Mt. Hebron High School.  I served as an Assistant Principal at Atholton and Glenelg High Schools and then became Principal of Mt. Hebron High School prior to Ronnie.  I also opened Reservoir High School and finished my 23 years of principalship at Marriotts Ridge High School.  Being a secondary school principal was an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career.  I look forward to serving those of you who are aspiring to become or are already school-based administrators.  Working with you and along side of you will be an honor and a privilege.

For the last month or so, I have been actively learning more about the State and National organizations.  I attended a Maryland State Department of Education Board Meeting; the Principals’ Conference in Cambridge, Maryland; and the NASSP Executive Directors Conference in Colorado Springs.  Meeting people from around the country, I heard about the direction in which the NASSP and local organizations are going, and I met many Executive Directors who are willing to assist in any endeavors we begin as we work to grow our organization and supply professional development that meets the needs of school-based administrators and aspiring leaders.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with the Board and we began a discussion about what MASSP does best, why people join MASSP, and how we can pursue and engage additional members over the next year.  In the fall, I will hold a Board Retreat during which time we will continue this rich discussion.

As I embark on this new journey, I look forward to meeting with and hearing from our members around the state.  I hope to visit every district and speak at one of your administrative meetings.  Please let me know if there is anything that you would like me to do or see anything you would like to see MASSP pursue in the future.  If you are interested in working with me on the Board or in any other capacity, please reach out and I will personally meet with you to discuss your involvement.  I can be reached at [email protected].  In a couple of weeks, I will have an MASSP phone and will provide you with my phone number.

I wish you all well as you close out your school years, and I hope you have a wonderful summer.  Enjoy your vacations and the time you get to spend with family and friends.   I look forward to seeing many of you at future conferences and workshops.                 -Addie Kaufman

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President's Report

While our calendars turn to end the school year, our year at MASSP is just starting.  I am so very honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Acting President for the upcoming year.  I’m looking forward to working with everyone to continue to serve all of our members through high quality professional development, networking, and advocacy opportunities to enhance and improve our profession and craft.

This is my seventeenth year in education – 9 years as a high school social studies teacher, 4 years as a middle school assistant principal, 2 years as a high school assistant principal, and now 2 years as a middle school principal.  I became an active member in MASSP four years ago when I was invited by a mentor to attend an Executive Committee meeting and hear a speaker from MSDE.  That is just a testament to how word of mouth can grow our organization and increase the network that we can rely on in our profession.  Four years later, I am the MASSP representative on the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council, was the 2017 Assistant Principal of the Year, and now am serving as your Acting President.  I can’t say enough great things about our organization, and I hope you take the initiative to get involved.

I look forward to working with everyone over the next two years.  Please do not hesitate to contact myself or the leadership team should we be of an assistance in any way.  Thank you for the job you do for our students across the state – and have a great summer!

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Meet our new Principals of the Year

Dr. Joey Jones, Principal of Robert Frost Middle School in Montgomery County

Serving as a dedicated and inspiring educator for over 25 years, Dr. Joey N. Jones believes students are at the heart of education. Dr. Jones has been a technology education teacher, curriculum writer, high school assistant principal, and SAT prep teacher. Also, he has trained and/or mentored over 15 administrators. Currently, Dr. Jones is the principal of Robert Frost Middle School, with an enrollment of over 1085 students. Frost is a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in Montgomery County, Maryland. Dr. Jones constantly reminds students, “You are some of the best students on the planet.” He believes leaders are always doing one of two things—getting better or getting behind. Dr. Jones and his staff choose to get better, as they provide a rigorous, world-class education in a supportive, equitable, and caring learning environment.

Under Dr. Jones’s leadership, Frost MS provides diverse learning experiences in and out of the classroom. Frost MS has a partnership with Beijing No. 5 Middle School in Beijing, China; sponsors a culturally-rich trip to Canada; a STEM trip to California; and hosts dynamic guest speakers to inspire students to dream BIG! “Success is everybody’s responsibility,” is a Frost core value. Thus, Dr. Jones collaborates and builds relationships with students, staff, parents, and community to make Frost MS, uniquely better for each student who enters its doors.

Dr. Jones earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in industrial arts/technology education from North Carolina A&T State University. Awarded an academic fellowship to attend the University of Maryland at College Park, he earned a Ph.D. degree in Public School Administration and Supervision. Dr. Jones is also the author of 100 Percent, The Power of Giving Your All, an Amazon Best-Selling, motivational book.

Dr. Jones is happily married to Kinta C. Jones, an elementary school special education teacher. They have three talented, teen-aged girls. Dr. Jones values family, church, and community. He and his wife have a passion for the development and success of people, particularly youth.


Nick Novak, Principal of Howard High School in Howard County

Nick Novak is in his 18th year as an educator with the Howard County Public School System. He started his career as an English teacher at River Hill High School and taught for six years before making the move to administration. Nick has worked at River Hill and Glenelg High Schools as an assistant principal and River Hill and Howard High Schools as a principal. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Maryland, and a certificate in Administration from McDaniel College.

During his career, Nick has been an active member of both the Howard County Administrators Association (HCAA) and the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). He is currently the president of HCAA and just completed a three year term as NASSP Coordinator for Maryland. As a school administrator, Nick is a champion for collaborative leadership, student voice, and shared vision. These values are captured in the hashtag the Howard High community used to highlight the launch of the new mission and vision statements--#OurHoward. Under his leadership, Howard staff has moved to a school improvement model where all staff participate in the planning and implementation of school improvement initiatives. School improvement is everyone’s responsibility because this is #OurHoward.

Nick lives in Howard County with his wife, Jenny, and son, Justin. When he’s not “principaling,” he enjoys reading, going to the movies, and attending his son’s sporting events.


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2019 Spring Conference a big success

Over 80 folks brought new definition to the terms professional development and networking in March at the Cambridge Hyatt during our signature spring conference.  Evaluations were highly positive.  Jay McTighe was a hit.  We had some great concurrent sessions, we celebrated our principals of the year Joey Jones and Nick Novak, and had a nice send off for retiring exec Scott Pfeifer.  Check out some great shots below:



Joey Jones & Nick Novak with Christine Handy         Stephanie Farmer and John Lang


Scott Pfeifer honored by Novak and Handy       Christine Handy presenting "Building Ranks"



Carroll County knows how to network                    In fact, folks all around MD can network


Howard County delegates talk about issues        Concurrent sessions  garner great interest



Tiffany and Riddle on empowering leadership          Dillon and Charley-Green on leadership

Reserve March 19-21 now to attend next year's conference

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Ass't Principal Highlights

Assistant Principals are our future!  There is no better way to hone your leadership potential than involvement in MASSP.  Exec Scott Pfeifer credits MASSP/NASSP involvement as the key to all the success he has experience over 45 years of service.


So become an Assistant Principal at Large.  Here is all it takes:


1) Attend four executive board meetings held around the state (September, November, February, and May)

2) Serve on the Assistant Principals committe than plans the AP conference and selects the AP of the Year

3) Register for and attend the AP conference and the Spring conference.


You will be amazed what you learn and the relationships you will form.  Contact the MASSP executive director if interested.

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Are you Retiring this year?

Please email Scott Pfeifer if you plan to retire at [email protected]

Three important reasons to do this:

First, provide a private email address so you stay connected till your membership expires.  Your district will disable your work email quickly.

Second, we STRONGLY encourage you to continue as a retired member ($90) to keep your legal and liability benefits active.  Some person or issue could emerge AFTER you retire from your years of service and as long as you retain membership important benefits remain

Finally, consider being a membership liaison as a retiree.  Reaching out to folks in your district who are new or not members means a lot when it comes from a trusted colleague.  We can offer you $50 for every new member you sign up.  We had a person from Howard County make $1500 one year.  Just let Scott know if interested.  Won't take much time.

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Federal Advocacy Report

Advocacy Corner

Updates from Your State Coordinator



It is my pleasure to serve as the new NASSP State Coordinator from Maryland. NASSP State Coordinators are principals and assistant principals who serve as the lead volunteer advocate and primary point-of-contact for advocacy in all 50 states. We work in collaboration with NASSP and lawmakers to promote and support federal, state, and local policy that will benefit students, educators, and school leaders.


Each newsletter I will provide you with the latest updates as they pertain to advocacy, in addition to ways you can get involved and support NASSP’s advocacy efforts. In-between newsletters, as NASSP pushes out “Action Alerts”, I will pass them along to you.


You can be involved as little or as much as you would like. If you can give just 3 minutes – just 3 minutes - of your time each time an “action alert” is sent out, together we can have an impact at the federal level.  You will receive an “Action Alert” email, and it really only involves clicking a link/button, entering your name, address, email, and phone number, and then clicking “send” on a pre-written message. That’s it. This small amount of time can make a huge difference, so be on the look-out for action alerts and let your voice be heard!


I wish you a wonderful close to the school year, and I hope to see many of you in Boston at the 2019 NASSP National Principals Conference (NPC19)!




Melissa Shindel




Interested in Learning More About Advocacy? This summer at NPC19 there will be several advocacy sessions, including: Advocacy Sessions

  • Leading a School After Tragedy – featuring members of the NASSP Principal Recovery Network
  • Recruiting and Retaining Great Principals: What Do We Know and What Can We Do? – featuring Linda Darling-Hammond discussing the new NASSP/Learning Policy Institute research initiative
  • Creating and Supporting Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students and Educators
  • Student Voice and Civic Engagement
  • The State of American Education


Do you know that ESSA has a Financial Transparency requirement? ESSA requires that

beginning with the 2018-2019 School Year, State Report Cards must include: “The per-pupil expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual nonpersonnel expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds, for each local educational agency and each school in the State for the preceding fiscal year.”


Principals are going to need to know (in the coming years) how to communicate about PPE data that will be released about our schools. To learn more, click here for more information, helpful links and resources (Link:


 Federal Policy Updates

  • FY 2020 Appropriations
    • The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill. The Democratic bill passed on party lines out of the committee.
    • The bill would increase funding for the Department of Education (ED) by $4 billion and would include some large increases for NASSP’s priority programs:
      • $1 billion increase for Title I
      • $500 million increase for Title II
      • $150 million increase for Title IV
      • $1 billion increase for IDEA
      • $5 million increase for Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants
    • It is uncertain “when” or “if” this bill will come to the floor. While the bill would likely pass through the House, it has unlikely in the Republican-controlled Senate.
    • The Senate Appropriations Committee is currently working on developing their own appropriations bills, but these will probably include a far smaller number for the overall Labor-HHS-Education bill.
    • Congress must first reach a budget deal that would allow the federal government to circumvent the sequester cuts in the Budget Control Act before passing appropriations for FY 2020. Majority Leader McConnell announced yesterday that they are close to a deal.
    • NASSP will continue tracking the appropriations process, but it seems likely that we will not have firm information until mid-summer to early fall.


  • Equality Act
    • Passed the House Friday, May 17, 2019
    • Largely a party line vote, but 8 Republicans did vote in favor of the legislation.

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Legislation update

Access this link which takes you to MABE's excellent summary of the 2019 legislative session regarding education


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Many thanks to our major sponsor AXA

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Earn a cash reward for member recruitment!

Most members tell us it was the influence of a colleague that got them involved in MASSP.  YOU can be that colleague for the newbies this summer.  Sign up the new folks, let the new exec know your referral made the difference, and earn $25 for every one.  Membership has lagged these past two year.  It is time to end that slide!!!

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Check out PBIS Rewards, new MASSP sponsor

Are you ready to simplify your PBIS program management? PBIS Rewards is an affordable, schoolwide PBIS management system. Our digital token economy makes it fun, quick, and easy to recognize students for meeting behavior expectations. PBIS Rewards automatically tracks the data, making it available for reporting and analysis! Get clear insight into how teachers are utilizing PBIS, how students are responding to positive recognition, and how PBIS is improving school culture. Plus, our features include store management, event management, raffles, Teacher Rewards, Advanced Referral System, Check-In/Check-Out, and a suite of PBIS apps - the mobility to recognize any student, anywhere!

You can learn more and request your demo at

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EPI educational products offers MASSP members great discounts on spirit wear

EPI educational products is a great partner with MASSP and promises members not only a discount to order their PE uniforms or other spirit wear but also provides MASSP a rebate.  check out their stuff at this link:


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Don't miss the 2019 National Principals Conference in Boston July 18 - 20

The National Principals Conference is an unrivaled opportunity for K–12 school leaders to collaborate across all levels to mold the course of student success. From authentic peer-to-peer conversations, innovative learning opportunities, and access to world-class thought leaders, gain the resources needed to positively impact the lives of all students.


Boston is a great town for this conference.  And the weather this time of year is perfect.  You won't regret networking with colleagues here this summer

MASSP once again hosts a state Dinner courtesy of our sponsors Lifetouch, Virco, and Character Strong.  

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Federal Grass Roots Network in Action on Capitol Hill


Take your advocacy efforts to the next level


As a school leader, you advocate on behalf of your students and staff every day with the decisions you make. We need you to share your expertise and on-the-ground experiences with policymakers so they are better informed when making decisions on education policy. If advocacy is especially important to you, one way for you get more involved is to join the NASSP Federal Grassroots Network!


NASSP's Federal Grassroots Network brings together individuals who want to build close relationships with their members of Congress to inform them about how policies they create in Washington impact education in their districts and states. Members of the FGN can tap into the following resources:

  • A community of advocates who commit to regularly meeting with their federal representatives to discuss state and federal policies that will benefit schools and students nationwide
  • A monthly FGN email newsletter highlighting recent changes in federal education policy
  • Weekly advocacy update blog posts on the School of Thought blog with the latest news and resources regarding federal education policy
  • The opportunity to attend the annual NASSP Advocacy Conference, a unique event that brings like-minded education professionals together to share ideas and discuss the top education policy issues of the day
  • Resources to become more effective advocates at all levels of government, including a basic guide on advocating on behalf of schools and principals

There has never been a more crucial time for you to voice your insight on effective school leadership and education policy. Join NASSP's Federal Grassroots Network today at the NASSP website

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Ten Year-End Reflection Questions for School Administrators

Self-Reflecting for Leadership Gains

As the paradigms of public education

evolve and sometimes conflict,

I have found that a periodic

self-assessment of basic leadership

principles can keep me grounded and

moving forward.

In that spirit, I lately have asked

my administrator colleagues to join

me in posing 10 questions to promote

self-reflection. In building my

list below, I included a growth challenge

for each query.

I would remind my colleagues

that these are intended to be questions

that someone asked either of

them or about them before they were

elevated to a school system leadership



ll Am I an effective manager in my

realm? What this question is really

asking is: Do I know process? Do I

respect process? Do I follow process?

Management is all about making

processes work and adjusting them

to changing circumstances. The

growth challenge here is to identify

a process that I would like to follow

more effectively or improve upon this



ll Am I an effective leader in my

realm? Am I able to analyze cause and-

effect relationships? Am I

informed on the latest research in

my realm? Can I listen to and give

feedback to those I supervise in such

a way that their professional practice

will improve? How can I tell

when I have done an effective job of

listening carefully to someone? The

growth challenge here is to identify

some topic I would like to learn more

about this year.


ll Can I tolerate a degree of ambiguity?

Can I accept that many

answers are not immediately available

nowadays? Indeed, the questions

associated with leadership in public

education are quickly outnumbering

the known answers. The growth challenge

here is to identify an area of

ambiguity I would really like to clear

up this year.


ll Am I open to advice, assistance

and mentoring? Do I recognize the

power of synergy? Do I understand

that attempting to go it alone is a

mistake even for the most seasoned

leaders among us? The growth challenge

here is to identify a respected

colleague from whom I would seek

mentoring this year.


ll Am I self-affirming? Am I able to

recognize, on my own, those aspects

of my performance that are laudable?

The higher one advances in the

leadership hierarchy, the more cautious

one needs to be in processing

those affirmations that do come. The

growth challenge here is to recognize

oneself for some worthy deed or trait.


ll Is the mission for children always

my primary focus? Can I recognize

and distance myself from the many

distractions from our mission? Even

though these distractions are often

predictable, saying “no” is frequently

uncomfortable for public school leaders.

The growth challenge here is to

identify a distraction I will conquer

this year.


ll What is my leadership style? Am I

a people person? Am I collaborative?

Do I know how much to empower

stakeholders? Do I recognize that

leadership is both an art and a science?

As the years go by, it becomes

easier to forget to reflect on these

fundamental questions. The growth

challenge here is to describe my leadership

style as others would.


ll Am I able to keep confidences? Do

I understand how critical this is for a

leader? Am I setting an example and

promoting a culture of appropriate

boundaries? The growth challenge

here is to identify a category of confidences

I will especially safeguard.


ll Am I known as a principled

leader and decision maker? What is

at the center of my paradigm? What

are the true motivators of my day-today

behavior? The growth challenge

here is to identify a vehicle for principled

decision making and use it.


ll Can I find joy in my work? Can

I resist our troubling national tendency

to squeeze the joy out of every

occupation? The growth challenge

here is to find some consistent source

of joy in my work this year.


Personal Evidence

Every leader is a work in progress

when it comes to each of these considerations.

The ultimate question is

this: Am I committed to the continuous

reflection necessary to keep getting


In my own ongoing professional

growth, I have found these reflective

questions provide welcome and

valuable structure when confronting

the galaxy of random issues that can

trouble a district leader. The complexity

and potential controversy embedded

in so many decisions make each

day on the job unique. In contrast,

these considerations are timeless and

comforting in their familiarity.

I have seen evidence of these

reflections affecting the work of leaders

in my district. I will hear a supervisor

specifically reassuring teachers

as we cope with the ambiguity of the

forthcoming evaluation systems. I

will notice my human resources

administrator invoke an improved

screening process while presenting a

set of recommended candidates. And

leaders frequently reference our district’s

vehicle for principled decision

making, Stephen R. Covey’s

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective

People, as we address matters of


As for mentoring, I am fortunate

to work in Maryland because all

24 district superintendents meet

monthly for collaboration and

insight. And the nine Eastern Shore

superintendents conduct their own

similarly beneficial monthly gatherings.

These frequent opportunities

for synergy with respected colleagues

are always enlightening as I seek to

stay grounded and move forward



Henry Wagner Jr. was superintendent

of Dorchester County Public Schools in

Cambridge, Md.

Email [email protected]

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