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Mark Warford named a NYS Assistant Principal of the Year

Filed in Archive, BCMS by on April 22, 2020

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Congratulations to Bethlehem Central Middle School Assistant Principal Mark Warford who has been named Assistant Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). Warford earned the honor for his outstanding work on behalf of middle school students and for his environmental stewardship and leadership on sustainability issues across the district. An awards ceremony sponsored by SAANYS, which had been slated for early May, has been postponed until fall due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Well done, Mr. Warford!

Read the award information from the School Administrators Association of New York State:

Mark Warford, assistant principal at Bethlehem Central Middle School in the Bethlehem Central School District, has been selected as a 2020 New York State Assistant Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

A long-time educator since 1995, Warford has served in his current position at Bethlehem Central Middle School since 2008. A significant accomplishment that began early in his educational career while an educator at Farnsworth MS in the Guilderland CSD, was the creation of an academic assistance program for at-risk students called GROW (goal setting, responsibility, organization, work ethic). This program, which he also later implemented in East Greenbush and Bethlehem, has been highly successful in giving these students the ability to achieve in school, while working on foundational skills and habits needed to reach that goal. Because of the success of the program, several other local school districts have since established their own GROW program. At Bethlehem Central MS, the GROW program has doubled in size over the last two years, paving the way for these students to have successful high school experiences. The program has accomplished so much that the district is considering implementing a model that can be used in the high school as well. Commented Mike Klugman, principal of Bethlehem Central MS, “He maintains the highest expectations of all students, and works tirelessly alongside teachers to demonstrate to students what their potential is and how they can reach it.” And parent Beth Kellerman noted, “He promotes a positive school climate and is approachable and attentive to students; his ‘Let’s have a great day!’ signature sign-off during the morning announcements captures his enthusiasm, which spreads throughout the school.”

Warford has also been instrumental in leading Bethlehem CSD toward achieving a goal of environmental sustainability. To that end, he founded a district-wide committee called the Green Team, the mission of which is to change the district’s infrastructure and policies in order to model what true sustainability looks like. The middle school initially served as a pilot for all the environmental initiatives now implemented across the district. Not only does the middle school house a small farm, producing thousands of pounds of produce annually (served in district cafeterias and a local restaurant, sold at the Delmar Farmers Market, and donated to the Town of Bethlehem food pantry), but the district has also eliminated disposable trays, plastic utensils, styrofoam containers, single use plastic straws, and implemented the recycling of paper, glass, plastic, metal, batteries, used electronics, markers, highlighters, and plastic writing utensils. The boldest initiatives have been to implement food composting across the district and the installation of a 2.1 megawatt solar array that now provides over 80 percent of the district’s electricity. In 2012, Bethlehem MS was one of the first three public schools in New York to be given the National Green Ribbon award, and was again recognized in 2017 with the governor’s award for environmental stewardship. On speaking about these accomplishments, Principal Klugman noted, “Mark is one of the most powerful role models in our community. He is esteemed and admired as much for his leadership as for his ethics and I have never worked with an assistant principal whose impact was so widely distributed throughout all schools in his district and throughout his community.”

Commented Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven, “I have worked with Mark over many years, both as a parent and as the Bethlehem town supervisor. In all circumstances, I have found him to be one of those rare individuals who is not only actively changing the world to be a better place, but is teaching and inspiring our children to do the same.”