Being named the 2023 Delaware Principal of the Year is nice, said Beacon Middle’s Dave Frederick, but real motivation comes from witnessing the collaboration and hard work of everyone in the school.
“That’s why I do it,” he said. “There’s a lot of outstanding educators in this building. My job is to harvest their talent and get out of the way.”
Frederick received his award in the company of family and coworkers during a surprise ceremony at the school April 28.
A team from the Delaware Association of School Principals, a department of the Delaware Association of School Administrators, reviewed Frederick’s application for the award, said DASA Executive Director Tammy Croce.
DASA reviews the applications and makes a selection based on criteria including culture (wellness, equity, student centeredness) and learning (results oriented, collaborative leadership, innovation), Croce said.
Each state nominates their principal for the National Principal of the Year program, said National Association of Secondary School Principals Communications Strategist Adam Davis.
From the state winners, NASSP will name three finalists as contenders for the national award, which will be announced in the fall.
Frederick said his application included detailed instructional processes and data-supported plans that helped individual students who were struggling become successful in the classroom over the past year.
Cape’s priority to open schools during the pandemic was tough, Frederick said, but had a huge impact on student readiness.
“We are very fortunate to have made the decision to open up,” he said.
Frederick said he looks forward to networking with and learning from principals from across the nation.
“It will give me an opportunity to add to my knowledge,” he said. “I personally don’t take too much time looking at things that went well. I always look at what could be done better, and there’s always something you can do better.”
In January, district officials tapped Frederick to become the first principal at Frederick D. Thomas Middle School, set to open in fall 2024 in Lewes. He begins his new role July 1.
Frederick began his career in 1995 as a Sussex Consortium paraeducator, and became a special education teacher at Rehoboth Elementary in 1998. He then taught at the former Lewes Middle School as well as the Sussex Consortium.
In 2003, Frederick was named assistant principal at Beacon, and was named principal in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Delaware, his master’s degree in special education from Wilmington University, and completed additional coursework in administration.