Casco Bay High School Principal Derek Pierce won a $100,000 leadership award from the Nellie Mae Foundation, which he will use to fund scholarships and projects at the Portland school.

“It was a great honor to be nominated alongside transformational New England educators, students and organizations,” Pierce said Tuesday. “It is a great tribute to the excellent work our students and staff have done in our first decade.”

The Larry O’Toole Award honors a school leader or organization in New England for innovative leadership in advancing student-centered learning. The winner is selected by an online vote, with one finalist from each New England state.

Pierce said he would use the money to provide $50,000 for scholarships to students taking part in annual learning expeditions, $25,000 for supplies and equipment for a new Maker Lab at the school, $15,000 in microgrants to student projects and $10,000 for hosting visiting educators and leading workshops.

Casco Bay High School, founded in 2005, is in the midst of a three-year expansion from 280 to 400 students.

“Winning this award would allow us to narrow the gap between our vision for student-centered learning and our daily practice,” Pierce said.


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