Being a disciplinarian only part of his mission

Leader: A Howard County educator was named Assistant Principal of the Year for 2002 by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals.

January 15, 2003|By Laura Shovan | Laura Shovan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If you go by the traditional formula, the principal is your pal and the assistant principal is in charge of student discipline. But Edmund Evans, assistant principal at Long Reach High School, thinks that is outdated. He says today's assistant principals have a more comprehensive role than doling out detentions.

"I think anyone who's in this position ... they're on the cutting edge with students," said Evans, who views his job as creating a positive school atmosphere. "I think assistant principals make a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operation of the school."

The Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) named Evans its 2002 Assistant Principal of the Year in November. David Bruzga, Long Reach principal and winner of the 2001 MASSP Principal of the Year award, nominated Evans. They have worked together as an administrative team for nearly a decade.

"He emphasizes correcting behavior and positive behavior, and I think really helps students to meet the expectations we have for their success," Bruzga said.

River Hill High School Principal Scott Pfeifer, president of MASSP, said Evans "has really demonstrated an impact on kids. It's clear that he's very well respected within the Long Reach community, and I think it's because he's very honest and sincere. ... That's really critical in that job."

Bill Neault, 17, a Long Reach senior, agrees. "If you get in trouble, he's not one to make an example of you, but he doesn't let you get away with anything," he said. "He always tries to get along with the students, take interest in what they're doing. ... His personality gives more of an air of a teacher, rather than a disciplinary figure."

Evans, 53, of Ellicott City is the father of two - a son at Centennial High and a daughter at Ohio State University. His wife, Connie, teaches at Howard High.

He said he was inspired to become an educator by a high school biology teacher who also was his football coach. "I respected him very much," Evans said. "He was a good teacher, coach and a pretty good confidante."

After earning a bachelor's degree in secondary education at what now is Frostburg State University, Evans was on active duty in the Marine Corps for four years. He attended officer candidate school and achieved the rank of colonel as a longtime active reservist.

Bruzga said that Evans' military background shaped his character. "Just his sense of patriotism and devotion to his family and his job ... those kinds of qualities these days are really hard to find," Bruzga said.

Evans earned graduate degrees at California State University at Long Beach and the Johns Hopkins University. Between degrees, he got his first teaching job at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington in 1976. Two years later, Evans began teaching and coaching in Howard County for the Howard High School Extension Program, which was a special-education facility at Taylor Manor Hospital.

Most of Evans' teaching and coaching experience was at Glenelg High, but he knew he wanted to be an administrator. "I was commanding officer of an artillery battery," he said. "I liked the feeling of leadership. I personally enjoyed the feeling of being involved in the decision-making process."

Evans has spent time as assistant principal at other Howard schools: Harper's Choice Middle, Oakland Mills High and Mount Hebron High. He and Bruzga went to Long Reach as a team when it opened in 1996.

The nomination for Assistant Principal of the Year included several letters of support and evidence that Evans is an instructional leader who contributes to the school community.

Eighteen months ago, Evans won a law enforcement grant worth $10,000 for an exterior surveillance system at the school. "Especially in a time when we're emphasizing school security," Bruzga said, the cameras have "made a real big difference."

Evans is a candidate for the this year's national assistant principal award.

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