Eric L. Minus, principal of Francis Scott Key Middle School in Silver Spring, has been named the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leader for Montgomery County.
Since he became principal of Key Middle School in 2004, Dr. Minus has shown vision and commitment in bringing Key, a school that was lagging in academic focus, to one where there are high expectations, quality instruction, and a strong partnership with staff and community. During his tenure, there have been higher test scores, increased participation in above-grade-level mathematics courses, and authorization of an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. The recently modernized school building has been nationally certified as a “green” school.
“He has essentially recreated his school,” says Community Superintendent Ursula Hermann. “He is a compassionate and knowledgeable leader. High expectations drive his work for his students, his staff, his parent community, and himself.”
The halls at Key illustrate the “5Ps” mantra that Minus communicates to students: “Prompt, Polite, Prepared, Persistent and Proud.”
“It’s more than the math,” he says. “I want them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. I want to make sure that a balance exists between an awareness of what our kids need academically and what they need socially and emotionally.”
Minus began his teaching career in 1994 in Newport News, Virginia. He left the classroom for several years to study health administration at Old Dominion University and worked as a health care administrator at Marriott Senior Living Services.
He found he missed the classroom and the students. He came back to teaching in 1999 at his alma mater, Montgomery Blair High School. He then served as assistant principal at White Oak Middle School before becoming principal at Key Middle School in 2004. A graduate of Hampton University, he recently received a Doctorate in Administration and Policy Studies from George Washington University.