PARIS — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia is Maine’s 2011 High School Principal of the Year and was presented the award Friday morning before hundreds of students and staff.

Maine Principals’ Association Executive Director Richard Durost and association President Jeannie Crocker announced the honor on the last day of the school’s winter carnival week.

Durost said, “Mr. Moccia’s professionalism, focus on the importance of relationships, and leadership of high school reform, which includes an unwavering commitment to student learning and increasing student achievement, represent the very best qualities of the high school principal in Maine. He is a leader in the profession.”

“The kids went wild,” Curriculum Director Kathy Elkins said of the ceremony in the gymnasium.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts said he and Moccia were the only ones advised of the award ahead of time.

“They really wanted to reveal it to the students first. We were both sworn to secrecy,” Colpitts said.

Colpitts called the award a validation of Moccia’s leadership skills both individually and in the school community, and the fact that as a leader he involves the school community in finding solutions.

“We’re very pleased the state has recognized him,” Colpitts said.

The prestigious award was given to Moccia based on his accomplishments as an educational leader in the areas of personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, and assessment and personalization of learning, Durost said.

Moccia will be honored at the MPA’s spring conference awards banquet on April 28. He will also attend the Principals’ Institute, scheduled for Sept. 21-24 in Washington, D.C., to honor the 2011 State Principals of the Year. He will be eligible for consideration as the 2012 National Principal of the Year. The institute and the National Principal of the Year program are sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Prior to his appointment as principal of OHCHS in 2005, he was assistant principal there from 1999-2005 and a physical education teacher and coach from 1990-1999.

From 1984-1990, he was employed by the Lewiston School Department,  teaching science at Lewiston High School followed by a stint at Lewiston Middle School teaching physical education.

A member of the MPA’s Wrestling Committee, Moccia is also a member of the Western Maine Health Board of Trustees for Stephens Memorial Hospital. He was a member of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce board.

The Maine Principals’ Association is a professional association representing Maine’s kindergarten through grade 12 principals, assistant principals, and career and technology center directors. The association dates back to 1921 and focuses its work on promoting the principalship, supporting principals as educational leaders, and promoting and administering interscholastic activities.

To be nominated, a principal has to be an active principal for at least three years and be serving as principal during the year he or she is nominated.

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