Meade High principal recognized by school counselors

Meade High School Principal John L. Yore greets 15-year-old MaKayla Rowe on the first day of school in August 2016. (File photo by Daniel Kucin Jr.)

John L. Yore, principal at Meade High School, was named Principal of the Year by the Maryland School Counselor Association in December.

He is being recognized for the 2016-2017 school year.

“I’m honored and humbled for the recognition,” Yore said. “The organization is a very well-respected group. I believe very strongly in the mission of school counselors, and this recognition by them is a very nice honor.

“Any individual recognition is the function of the team behind you. I accept this recognition for the team around me, particularly my school services and school counseling team.”

Yore and other honorees will be feted at the Third Annual National School Counseling Week and Recognition Gala on Feb. 3 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt.

“We look to celebrate those principals who demonstrate an understanding of what school counselors should do and how to best use our assets and resources to benefit student growth,” said Jeremy Goldman, secondary vice president of MSCA. “There are still many administrators in the state who have outdated ideas of what school counselors should do and be accountable for.”

MSCA’s mission is to “promote excellence in the profession of school counseling and to foster the full potential of all students regarding academic, career, and social-emotional growth,” according to the organization’s website.

Bianca Pilewski, chair of Meade High School’s counseling department, nominated Yore for the distinction early last summer.

“He is crucial to the work of school counseling, and his support allows us to provide students the support services to our school community,” Pilewski said. “It is his unwavering commitment to the academic, personal/social and college/career successes of all of our students that allow me and my team to be successful.”

Meade High has a team of seven school counselors. They provide individual and group (small and large) support and service to ensure student progress in academic, social/emotional and college/career readiness.

Principal John L. Yore speaks at Meade High School’s graduation ceremony at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro in June 2016. (File photo by Jen Rynda/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Unwavering Commitment

Pilewski said she nominated Yore because he considers school counseling to be a priority at the school.

“In many high schools, school counselors have many non-counseling duties such as lunch and bus duties, class coverage when teachers are out, administration of state tests, and scheduling,” she said. “Mr. Yore does not require us to do any of these things. We are able to spend the majority of our time in direct support of our students and families.”

Pilewski also credited Yore for working with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools to provide funding in the 2015-2016 school budget to hire a full-time social worker.

“Because school counselors can spend time on programs and services, we have time to consult with our social worker, school psychologist and outside therapeutic support personnel to better meet the mental health, as well as the academic needs of our students,” she said.

Yore, who arrived at Meade High in 2012, said his commitment to his school services and school counseling team is imperative.

“School counselors do tremendous work on behalf of students,” he said. “They have a significant role in support of students academically and just making sure their psycho-social needs are being met.”

Yore said the school services and school counseling team is the “best I’ve ever been able to assemble.”

In addition to the support services available through the high school, Yore said the students who are affiliated with Fort Meade can receive counseling and therapeutic support for themselves and their families through Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Villa Maria Behavioral Health Clinics.

Yore said his cornerstone philosophy as an educator and administrator is the value of respect for everyone who attends Meade High and for all employees.

“We’re, first and foremost, about people,” he said.

Throughout his 30-year career, Yore has asked students if they want to be educated in an environment where they are valued and respected.

“I’ve never heard a student say no to that,” he said. “If everybody wants it and desires it, why can’t we achieve it?”

Yore said he requires respect in every interaction at the school and makes no exceptions.

He said a handshake in the morning for a student who had a rough night can make a difference in their day and in their life.

Yore said the recognition that he receives is a reflection of Meade’s student body.

“Our students are phenomenal,” he said, crediting the school’s Happy Helpers for the Homeless project for its dedication in providing meals to the homeless. “We have students who are committed to service.”

Yore said he boasts about Meade High and the Fort Meade community.

“The parents in our community can be very proud of the work of our students,” he said.

“One of our particular strengths is our diversity. It makes us stronger, and I think it is a real blessing for our community.”

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