Portland High School Principal Sheila Jepson has been named the 2023 Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL) School Administrator of the Year. The award honors administrators who, through individual leadership and sustained effort, have made worthy contributions to the operations of effective school library media services within the educational program.
Jepson learned about the award in a surprise ceremony at the school on March 22. Jennifer Stanbro, former MASL President and a South Portland school librarian, presented Jepson with flowers, a plaque and a check in her name for the school library media program. PHS library staff Susie Nick and Valerie Carpentier joined in recognizing Jepson.
“Principal Jepson’s nomination was a collaborative effort of the library team, along with staff and students,” Nick said. “Although the focus of the award is library support, other staff members shared stories about how Principal Jepson has supported them and their programs.”
Testimonials from staff about Jepson submitted as part of the nomination process include:
● “She wants us to grow our programming and is endlessly flexible in her thinking about how to do this. She has told us that we are the experts and need to make the decisions. She has told us she trusts us.”
● “Sheila is a special principal who has always looked at our students' growth potential, not their perceived deficits.”
● “Sheila has always been supportive and willing to listen to any new ideas, concepts, and strategies that will benefit today's learners.”
Read more testimonials HERE.
Interim Co-Superintendents Aaron Townsend and Melea Nalli said the award to Jepson is well-deserved, adding: “We celebrate Principal Jepson’s commitment to having a robust school library with a collection that provides all students access to books and resources to better understand our world and all the different perspectives that are a part of it.”
Jepson said, “I am honored to receive this award and thank MASL for the recognition. Our school library is a special place. From multimedia presentations, to a quiet study hall, to working on a classroom research project, it is a safe space for students to be. It is welcoming, creative and thoughtful about the needs of our school community.”
Jepson has led PHS since the fall of 2016. She had extensive experience as a teacher, school leader and administrator prior to joining the Portland Public Schools in 2006. Her previous roles at PPS have included being assistant principal at Deering High School, leading the district’s summer program and being the district’s academic coordinator. Jepson holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
PHOTO: Shown, from left, are PHS librarian Valerie Carpentier, Principal Sheila Jepson and librarian Susie Nick, after Jepson received the 2023 Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL) School Administrator of the Year award on March 22.
The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.