ALBANY, NY – Mary Beth Fierro, principal at Oswego Middle School has been selected as the 2017 New York State Middle School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
This award is given annually to a member of SAANYS and NAESP who has set the pace, character, and quality of education for the children in his or her school.
Nominees are administrators who are committed to the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities and have shown exceptional contributions to the educational process.
A long-time educator of more than 30 years, Fierro has served in her current position as principal of Oswego Middle School for the last six years.
During that time, she has worked diligently to lift up the school from SINI (School in Need of Improvement) status from the State Education Department to a flourishing school with a shared vision for all students and staff.
One notable accomplishment is the 64 percent reduction of disciplinary referrals over the last five years, a direct result of a careful review of discipline data and pro-actively implementing measures such as faculty and staff professional development on working with at-risk students and introducing a strong character program within the school.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dean Goewey said, “Although I have known Mrs. Fierro for more than 40 years, my observations of her as our middle school principal have distinguished her in my mind as an agent of change for her school. She took the reins of a school in accountability status and has brought it to a high performing school. Her commitment to excellence for all students is evident in her leadership and love of her school.”
Well-known as a mentor to fellow teachers and administrators in the district, Fierro has also implemented several mentor programs for students at the middle school.
In her first year there, she introduced the Mentor-Scholar program where at-risk students are paired with a mentor from the SUNY Oswego School of Education working one-on-one with their mentee twice per week after school.
This program has grown to include more than 75 students this year.
For two years, the school was also able to offer a Mentor STEM program centered on forensics and robotics, which provided supplemental programming to highly interested students.
Additionally, in an effort to reach students struggling with learning in a traditional classroom setting, Fierro implemented a PLATO (Standards Based Online Learning Program) Learning Lab, which enables students to work at their own pace all while benefitting from personalized instruction from a dedicated classroom teacher.
Nominated by a team of teachers, they noted, “These are only a small portion of Mary Beth’s actions as a leader that have made her school a great place to work and educate students.”
Parent Julie Chetney added, “I speak on behalf of so many parents in saying because of Principal Fierro, OMS is a place where parents feel welcomed and students feel at home.”
Minetto Elementary School Principal Julie Kimmel-Gorman said, “I am always amazed by the devotion Mary Beth has to Oswego Middle School and the surrounding community. She treats every student like they were her own. She honestly wants what is best for each and every one of them. The best part is, she will go the extra mile to make it happen.”
Fierro received her bachelor of science, master of science, and certificate of advanced studies from SUNY Oswego.
Fierro will be honored for her accomplishments at an awards ceremony on May 5 at the Century House in Latham, NY.
As New York’s Middle School Principal of the Year, Fierro will be celebrated as a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals at a recognition program sponsored by NAESP this fall in Washington, DC.
SAANYS represents nearly 7,200 school administrators, supervisors and coordinators.
As a professional association, SAANYS is committed to providing direction, service, and support to the membership in their efforts to improve the quality of education and leadership in New York State schools.
SAANYS is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.