The 2019-2020 school year is a year none of us will forget. Though it was filled with turmoil and interruption and unrest, Kenwood students and staff represented our community with Bluebird Pride. Principal Brian Powell came to Kenwood four years ago when the Class of 2020 was starting their freshmen year and it was this year with the first class he oversaw for all four years that he was recognized not once but twice as Principal of the Year!
Every year, BCPS promotes an application where anyone can nominate a principal, in which the finalists- determined by the Baltimore County Education Foundation-are picked. This year, Kenwood High’s very own Mr. Powell was nominated as a finalist. It was the first time he’s been nominated for this award and on June 4 Dr. Williams announced Mr. Powell is the Secondary Principal of the Year!
He was also selected by the Baltimore County Student Council as Principal of the Year for his advocacy of student voice and leadership. In announcing the award, Makenna Hakim, a senior at Towson High School and BCSC’s chief of staff, described Powell as “enthusiastic, dedicated, passionate, and deeply invested in student success. A transformative and inspirational leader, this individual has changed the school’s culture to embody excellence, embrace inclusion, and encourage innovation.”
“I am extremely honored to be considered in this category given all the terrific Principals in BCPS. For me, I am more excited for the positive recognition for our school, students, families, and staff! We have a terrific team that deserves this recognition just as much! I am proud to be a part of our Kenwood family!” shared Principal Powell. “I think community members and the entire BCPS community are recognizing the hard work and outstanding achievements of our students, families, and staff. To me, the nomination and recognition is just as much for our entire team and community!” Kenwood’s SGA sponsor Ms. Forman adds, ““Mr. Powell is very supportive of SGA ideas and activities. His flexibility and encouragement have helped us grow SGA to engage the school and community in activities for the past four years. He is very deserving of the title BCSC Principal of the Year.”
Throughout his time working as a principal in our school, his main focus has always been the success of the student body, as well as the staff. With the main goal of student preparedness when entering into college or even their desired career, one of the things that has motivated him in striving for the best in our school and community was his sister who was born with cerebral palsy. Growing up with her taught him to support all students from a young age. Everyone involved in the Kenwood High community-from parents, to staff, and students- are also big motivators as well to always help others strive for greatness.
“Brian Powell has gone above and beyond to highlight all the positive and great things that occur in this school. Great things are happening and he’s pioneering that effort to make sure everyone knows about it,”shares Kenwood counselor, Mr. Grubka. He is not the only thinking Mr. Powell is deserving of these recognitions. Kenwood Assistant Principal Ms. Beaty says, “He leads with integrity, mutual respect, graciousness, thoughtfulness, strategic vision, and a problem solver.”
Several other staff members were recognized here at the end of the school. Ms. Lacey Forman was named the Baltimore County Student Council Advisor of the Year for her dedicated and leadership work with our amazing Student Government Association (SGA). Ms. Forman has been at Kenwood overseeing the SGA for four years. “It’s important to provide leadership and learning opportunities outside of the classroom so that students have a safe space to engage with other people, learn new things, and develop leadership skills. SGA and BCSC provide a ton of opportunities to interact with students and leaders from all over the county and provide pathways for our students to grow into student leaders. It is a pleasure to be the advisor and facilitate that process,” states Ms. Forman.
Ms. Forman is very deserving of this recognition! “Ms. Forman does an absolute awesome job with our Kenwood student council as they work tirelessly organizing many of our terrific events such as homecoming activities, class officer votes, culture nights, etc. Under her leadership, our student council has grown tremendously and done so many wonderful things for our school and community! So happy that she is receiving this outstanding recognition!” shares Mr. Powell. Forman’s SGA students describe here as having, “terrific communication skills, a tireless work ethic, and a true dedication to the success of students and colleagues.”
Mrs. Glenn was a BCPS Teacher of the Year nominee for Kenwood and Chef G was the Teacher of the Year Nominee for Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Education Award. Mrs. Glenn has been at Kenwood for two years and started The Eye of the Bluebird last year when she started at Kenwood. “To build my own publications program with student writing and voice has been a career dream of mine for years and I am so grateful to the Kenwood community for the wonderful support they have given the program and I often say it was Eye of the Bluebird and its staff that was nominated as Teacher of the Year.”
Chef G has been at Kenwood for four years and is well known for the wonderful foods and smells coming out of her classroom kitchen. Chef G and her cooking classes are a well-loved favorite at Kenwood. Mr, Grahe, CTE department chair shares, “Chef G is a warm, loving, caring person who just happens to be a teacher. She genuinely cares for her students and their success. Chef G works tirelessly to provide her students the best learning in the kitchen as possible. She aspires to be the best educator that she can be.”
Three of our school counselors were also nominated as BCPS School Counselor of the Year. Mr. Grubka, Ms. Bradley, and Mrs. Strzegowski were all nominated. Mr. Grubka, the leader of the Kenwood counseling department as the department chair shares, “Jan Bradley has such a great relationship with all of her students. She embodies cura personalis, ‘care for the entire person’. She is thorough in all her efforts and truly cares for the growth and development of all her students and families. Kim Strzegowski goes above and beyond to do anything for her students. She is extremely knowledgeable and personable with her students.”
Mrs. Strzegowski a nominee herself finds herself in good company with her fellow coworking nominees. “Jan’s kind and genuine nature draws the students to her. She gives them time and patience and an empathetic ear. There is usually a line out her door…Really. Best counselor in the county, in my opinion! Josh Grubka is an exceptional leader! I know he will go to bat for us when warranted, and will give us honest feedback every step of the way. He gets to know ALL of the KHS kids, not just the ones on his caseload. He is the face of the counseling office! “
James Harrison, a Para-Educator in our FALS program was nominated as the Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County staff member of the year. Cindy Kordela was nominated for the Chamber of Commerce support staff of the year. Special Education Department Chair states, “School support staff play an important role in ensuring students are learning in a safe and supportive learning environment. They can foster positive, trusting relationships with students and improve school climate by encouraging parent and family involvement in education.”
Kenwood’s Bluebird Library librarian Ms. Magnuson was recognized in January as a Maryland School Librarian of the Month. “Ms. Magnuson is a true advocate for teachers and students. She does it all–from easy to navigate lessons on NoodleTools to online databases, planning a micro-project for Fences to arranging a green screen for our Ted Talks, and more (alas poor poetry month!). When the virus closed the doors, she opened the library in the virtual world and expanded its offerings. She keeps the dialogue going with our teams–she’s the best kind of whirlwind,” shares ELA teacher Ms. Cooper.
Kenwood’s Athletic Director Anthony Ruocco was recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) as a Certified Master Athletic Administrator. “To earn this distinction, Tony has demonstrated exemplary knowledge, contributions and on-going professional development in the field of interscholastic athletic administration.” Coach Ruocco is one of a very elite group of interscholastic athletic administrators nationwide to attain this level of professionalism.
All of Kenwood’s staff is dedicated to the success of their students. Be sure to check out our #teacheroftheweek2019 and #teacheroftheweek2020 hashtags on facebook to see all the teacher of the week highlights from the 2019-2020 school year! As Ms. Forman recently said, “It’s a great time to be a Bluebird!”
Check out our running list of all the end of the year student recognitions and awards here .