Paint Branch High School Principal is Winner of Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award

November 14, 2000
Paint Branch High School Principal Fred Lowenbach is the winner of this year's Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award for Montgomery County.

The award, for promoting an excellent educational program and for creating an exceptional educational environment, is given annually to one principal in each of the Washington metropolitan area school districts and to one principal of an area private school. Lowenbach and other winners will be honored at a November 20 ceremony.

The award follows a string of other honors for the school and its principal. Under Lowenbach's leadership, Paint Branch was named both a State and National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence this year. In addition, Paint Branch also received the distinction of being one of 10 schools nationally to be recognized as a New American High School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Lowenbach also has won the Mark Mann Award for Excellence and Harmony from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and Educator of the Year awards from both the Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce.

Lowenbach has spent his entire educational career with MCPS, first as a social studies teacher, then as a department chair at both the junior and senior high school levels. He served as principal at Benjamin Banneker Middle School before moving to Paint Branch five years ago as the school's principal.

As part of the Northeast Consortium, which provides parents and students the opportunity to select a high school based on student interest, Paint Branch, under Lowenbach's leadership, developed two signature programsone in science/medical careers and another in mediathat have attracted students to the high school.

Lowenbach also helped establish partnerships with prominent organizations, including Comcast, Black Entertainment Television and Holy Cross Hospital, resulting in internships for students in these and many other locations.

Teachers, staff and people in the school community have expressed how fortunate they feel to have Lowenbach for their principal.

But Lowenbach is quick to give credit where it's due. "Schools and individuals don't win awards because of the efforts of one individual," he said. "Paint Branch has an incredible signature coordinator in the person of Betsy Brown, a wonderful administrative team, outstanding resource teachers who head their departments, a great intern coordinator in Nancy Peckerar and an incredibly professional, hard working and concerned staff."

Pekerar, who nominated Lowenbach for the Post award, recalled that he once told her that teaching was the second best job in the school system. When she asked him what was the first, he responded, "I'm fortunate to have it."

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