St. Aloysius’ principal honored by Department of Education

Maryann Hayslip, principal of St. Aloysius School, was photographed along with Father John Stoltz, pastor of St. Aloysius Church, Oct. 15 on the school’s campus in Pewee Valley, Ky. (Photo Special to The Record)

Maryann Hayslip, principal of St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., is the recipient of the 2020 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership given by the U.S. Department of Education.

St. Aloysius is also one of the schools which earned the designation of Blue Ribbon School this year. Hayslip is one of 10 educators in the nation to receive the award. She will be recognized during the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony which will be held on a virtual platform Nov. 11.

Hayslip said the Bell Award is “another great accomplishment for the whole school.”

“I couldn’t win without the backing of the faculty, staff, parents and students. Everyone is willing to try something new and outside the box. It’s a community effort,” she said.

She noted that she’s proud of the school’s focus on nurturing the whole child — academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally.

“For us nurturing the whole child gives us an edge and puts us in a niche,” she said.

She has served at St. Aloysius for 16 years, 13 of those as principal.

Hayslip expects the best from herself and brings out the best in the school, according to a press release from St. Aloysius.

“She works tirelessly to build on the strengths of the school community and identifies areas needing improvements. Described as a passionate servant-style leader by educators, Principal Hayslip instills a strong school community, built on communication and collaboration, to focus on continuous improvement and the growth and development of every teacher and student,” said the release.

She is described as a “life-long learner.” She is “always looking for ways to build teachers’ capacities which impact students,” the press release said.

Last year, Hayslip led the school in adopting Calm and Loving Minds Achieve (CALMA), a curriculum focused on preventative behavior and students’ social and emotional well-being. CALMA focuses on the “development of students’ self-regulation, awareness of the present moment, social skills and focused attention.”

Earlier in the year when the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hayslip “ensured that students had continued access to the CALMA curriculum by creating social-emotional days, family learning days, and new weekly lessons taught by the counselor,” said the release.

Leisa Schulz, superintendent of schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, said she is “thrilled for St. Aloysius” and “proud and excited for the Archdiocese of Louisville.”

“I think it’s well-deserved. She’s an excellent representative of what an exceptional Catholic school leader is. She is innovative and creative as evidenced by the CALMA program she led,” said Schulz. “Even more noteworthy, when the school transitioned to remote learning she found a way to continue the program because she knew it was needed.”

Schulz said Hayslip serves on various committees and advisory groups in the archdiocese and that she is a leader who takes initiative. “She is very humble and collaborative. She involves everyone but serves as a catalyst.”

Schulz also described her as a “woman of strong Catholic identity.

“I think everything she looks at and implements is tied to what’s going on in the parish community and Catholic culture,” she said.

Schulz added that Hayslip places the needs of St. Aloysius’ students at the center of all she does.

“She’s created a wonderful culture among the teachers, parents and parish community. That accounts for the school’s two Blue Ribbon Awards,” said Schulz. St. Aloysius earned its first Blue Ribbon distinction in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education said the award “recognizes outstanding school leaders and the vital role they play in guiding students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances. Award recipients have transformed their schools. Their vision and collaborative leadership styles have produced outstanding results for all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, language proficiency, or socioeconomic status. They have shown that – with effective leadership and teaching and a firm conviction – all students can learn.”

Bell Award recipients are chosen from among principals whose schools are named Blue Ribbon Schools. The award is named after Terrel H. Bell, an educator who served as Secretary of Education in the 1980s and who founded the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

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