B-CC Principal Wins Washington Post Leadership Award

November 14, 2003
Catherine “Katy” Harvey, principal of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School since 1999, has been selected to receive the 2003 Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award for Montgomery County.
Ms. Harvey was recognized for doing a remarkable job of working with parents, students, and community partners in promoting an excellent academic program and creating an exceptional educational environment. The award is presented annually to one principal in each Washington metropolitan area school district and to one principal of an area private school.

Ms. Harvey [pictured at right] was nominated by Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, following a competitive systemwide review process involving other principal candidates. Each district winner will be honored on November 17 at a recognition dinner at the Washington Post headquarters and will participate in a seminar to examine issues in education.

Ms. Harvey came to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, also known simply as B-CC, in July 1999 following three years as founding principal of Rio Ranch High School in New Mexico, a state-of-the-art high school that was profiled in Time magazine as a school of the future.

At B-CC, Harvey took over a school that had experienced dramatic turnover in the principalship, declining enrollment, and flagging test scores. The school also was facing a two-year relocation to a holding school while the original school building was modernized.

Through her efforts, school spirit has been rebuilt and the transition to the newly modernized facility has been carried out with much community support. Freshman enrollment, now at 450 students, has increased by 40 percent -- with many students returning to B-CC from private schools -- and test scores have risen steadily. B-CC showed the greatest SAT gains in the county over the past five years.

One of her most important contributions was noted to be her leadership in creation of a technology vision for B-CC, titled “A New Century of Possibility.” A technology task force, including faculty members, parents and community residents, met for a year to frame a vision for B-CC technology. This vision is now a reality, with the B-CC Educational Foundation helping raise funds to enhance the technology budget for the new school. Technology at the school includes personal laptops for every teacher, three computer labs, and the B-CC Cyber Café, which opened earlier this year.

Ms. Harvey's appointment last year to the National Assessment Governing Board, which includes only two principals nationwide, speaks to her national credentials and the respect she commands within the professional community. In addition, in summer 2003 she was one of six principals awarded a fellowship from the embassy of Italy and The Washington Post to study Italian culture and the Italian language in an intensive two-week seminar in Milan and Siena.

“One of the most valuable things that Katy Harvey has brought to B-CC is vision,” Matthew Gandal, president of the B-CC High School Educational Foundation, said in a letter of support for Harvey's nomination. “Her vision includes a school with state-of-the art technology and a commitment to improving the education offered to disadvantaged students while continuing to challenge those at the very top of the academic pyramid.”

For more information about Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Ms. Harvey, see the link below.

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