An open and honest style of communicating, commitment to student achievement and equity, high expectations for staff, and the ability to instill a strong sense of purpose in others are some of the qualities that earned Bob Bastress, director of the Administrative and Supervisory Professional Growth System, this year’s Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision.
The Shirley Award was created by the Montgomery County Association of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (MCAASP) in 2003 to honor Dr. Edward Shirley, an MCPS educator and leader for more than 30 years and the first full-time president of MCAASP. Bastress will receive the award at the April 19 Champions for Children Gala.
Bastress, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, was a chemistry teacher and assistant principal in Howard County and principal in Carroll County before coming to MCPS in 1997. He served as principal of Damascus High School until 2002, when he was appointed to his present position.
Bastress was praised by colleagues for his strong leadership skills, which combine communicating core values of equity, honesty, and high expectations with instilling in others a strong sense of purpose.
As principal of Damascus High School, he spearheaded an improvement effort called Operation NorthStar, which increased students’ access to and support in honors-level coursework.
As director of the Administrative and Supervisory Professional Growth System (A&S PGS), Bastress has put in place standards of performance and processes for administrators. “Through his role as the key facilitator for the design of the A&S PGS, Dr. Bastress has served as a linchpin for both developing and implementing a system that honors the role that leaders play in this county,” said Darlene Merry, associate superintendent for Organizational Development.
Bastress also facilitated the creation of the Review Panel for principals and a handbook to establish processes. He served as co-chair of the Peer Assistance and Review Panel for teachers for four years. He taught most of the 111 principals who have completed the course for principals on using data for instructional leadership. He has been a mentor and a resource to dozens of consulting teachers and to the four consulting principals.
Beyond his work as director of the A&S PGS, Bastress demonstrates systemwide leadership in the numerous committees on which he serves. These include the Professional Development Advisory Committee, Middle School Reform Leadership and Professional Development Project Team, and the Safety and Security Workgroup.