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Brentwood's Mike Merritt Named 2019 Illinois Elementary Principal of the Year

The Illinois Principal Association (IPA) announced on Friday that Brentwood Elementary School Principal Dr. Mike Merritt has been named the 2019 Illinois Elementary Principal of the Year.

The award, given in conjunction with Horace Mann, recognizes elementary school principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community.

Brentwood students joined CCSD59 administrators and representatives from the IPA and Horace Mann in surprising Dr. Merritt with the news during morning video announcements on Friday.

“Think about the number of principals in the state,” said Dr. Merritt. “To know that your peers think highly enough of you to select you for this honor and people at the state level respect you, it’s very humbling.”

Criteria for the award include:

  • Demonstrates a positive impact on education and advocacy for children
  • Ensures the school climate is positive and reflects high staff and student morale
  • Demonstrates creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change
  • Willing to take risks to improve student learning
  • Moves actively to implement the goals and objectives of the school
  • Works collaboratively with teachers and other staff to improve the educational program and student achievement
  • Anticipates emerging problems and acts effectively to resolve them
  • Involves the community in the life of the school and uses community resources for students.

“We’re looking for that principal that knows kids, instruction, data, and how to improve schools and keep things moving forward,” said Kim Zinman of the IPA. “We want principals that pay attention to the whole community.”

Dr. Merritt is in his fifth year as principal at Brentwood. Prior to arriving in CCDSD9, he served as the principal at L.J. Stevens Intermediate School in Wilmington, Ill. from 2012-2014. His educational career began in 2001 as a physical education and health teacher at Martinez Middle School in Romeoville, Ill.

He received his Doctorate in Education from St. Francis in 2015.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Merritt,” said Dr. Art Fessler, Superintendent of Schools. “Every day, he brings a positive attitude and outstanding work ethic to the job. He is truly passionate about serving his students, staff, and the Brentwood community.”

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