Dan George, Superintendent/School Leader at Creative Technologies Academy, was recently named as one of the top 10 finalists in TheBestSchools.org annual awards. The finalists are primary and secondary school administrators who demonstrate a wide range of gifts, experiences and accomplishments. According to TheBestSchools.org, the top 10 named leaders have proven his or her ability to overcome odds, rally the team and cultivate educational success where weaker wills could not.
“I was honored and humbled to be nominated and selected as a top 10 finalist for this award,” commented Dan George. “I appreciate all of the support I receive daily from my dedicated staff of educators. Their hearts for kids and sacrificial service inspire me every day. Our highest priority is to do what’s best for kids, and I know I can count on my staff to help us keep getting better.”
TheBestSchools.org provided an overview of George that included: he is a servant leader at Creative Technologies Academy (CTA), a charter school in Cedar Springs, Michigan. with about 300 students. Dan’s experience in the business world (25 years) and as a basketball coach at a local college have molded his leadership style for teamwork, efficiency, and the work ethic to “keep getting better.” Yet, make no mistake, George’s first love is not business, or basketball, it is education. His educational credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in History and Teacher Certification from Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI). When George first arrived at Creative Technologies Academy almost six years ago, the school was facing a 50 percent student poverty rate (whose household income was at or below the poverty line), and the school was struggling in probationary status, barely maintaining accreditation. But before long, the school’s state grades rose 31 percent and now CTA “exceeds expectations.” This was a marginal school that’s now an academic leader.
“It is really great for Dan to get recognized for the hard work that he does,” praised David Oldebekking, Dean of Students. “He is a very humble man and a lot of his work is done behind the scenes, so for his hard work and sacrifice to be acknowledged is well-deserved.”
Mr. George’s methods emphasize leadership training and community engagement programs. For example, he has worked with his teachers and staff to develop leadership curriculum, emphasizing character, service learning, and college readiness. Effectively, this model empowers students to take responsibility for their community, actively apply their learning, and contribute to the overall health of their school. One spotlight for community engagement is “Coffee with Mr. George,” a monthly 7:00 a.m. open-door gathering to chat about the school, its direction, and its role in the community. George’s peers describe him as a man of strong moral fiber and integrity. In applying for this award, George couldn’t help but commend his fellow administrators and educators as his team of sacrificial servants.
the Best in Education Award centers around the legacy of Jamie Escalante and Henry Gradillas, the teacher and principal depicted in the film Stand and Deliver; their outstanding work at Garfield High School in the 1980s shines a beacon to this day. They hope to find and acknowledge outstanding teachers and school administrators across America. Their aim is not only to recognize the individuals, their work and their schools; it is to energize the spirit of excellence in education for all educators.