Worcester woman honored as principal of the year

WORCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) — The principal of Worcester Technical High School was surprised in a big way. Sheila Harrity thought she was attending a symposium, but the VIP crowd was all for her as she was named top secondary school principal in the country.

Principal Harrity had no idea what was going on in her high school.

She was shocked to see Governor Deval Patrick on stage in a packed auditorium, along with the state's highest education and government officials.

“She kept saying ‘what is going on, what is going on?’ I feel fairly confident that the only person in this room who is surprised is Sheila,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

“I am so honored and extremely humbled by this recognition. I have so many questions actually. One of the biggest questions I have, how long has my mother known,” said Principal Sheila Harrity, Worcester Technical High School.

“I think that's really cool,” one student said.

“I see her in halls and I always say hi to her. She is a good principal and keeps our school well,” said Beata Rosa another student at Worcester Technical High School.

When she arrived the dropout rate was 6.5 percent. In the seven years it has dropped to 1.5.

“Our students and staff have lived up to all the expectations and a little bit more,” Harrity said.

“We are here to celebrate one of the most dynamic, enthusiastic and energetic principals in the country here in Massachusetts,” one man said.

Harrity is the first Massachusetts principal to get this honor in the 20-year history and gets a $5,000 grant for the school. The Worcester principle will be honored in a huge black tie gala in Washington, D.C. next week.