Stonehill Graduate Named Massachusetts Principal of the Year

June 4, 2015

Plymouth South High School Principal Patricia Fry has been selected for national recognition as the state’s Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association (MSSAA).

The association, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, annually recognizes principals who demonstrate exemplary skills in instructional leadership, supporting a safe learning environment and fostering a collaborative culture of decision making among all members of the school community.

Fry will be honored July 29 by her peers at the MSSAA Leadership Institute at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center. She will also be recognized in September in Washington, D.C, where she will have an opportunity to share her experience and expertise with principals from across the country. Fry is also a candidate for National Principal of the Year.

Mrs. Fry has been lauded by peers, students, community members and her superiors for her influence on school culture, student achievement and shared leadership since becoming principal at Plymouth South in the fall of 2005.

In their 2014 accreditation report, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) commended the staff of Plymouth South for its research-based examination of basic core values, beliefs and learning expectations. The result of their collaborative efforts has led to a significant shift in student behavior and increased student enrollment in more rigorous coursework.

This positive change in school culture has also led to a dramatic increase in student course selection, especially in the Advanced Placement program. To attract more students, Fry increased AP teacher training, eliminated course prerequisites and increased student incentives. As a result, test administrations increased by 100 and test scores in the 3-5 range rose 21 percent over a three-year period. The increases came despite the school’s loss of 500 students to redistricting.

The accreditation board also commended Fry for her “empowerment of staff to lead.” Through her shared leadership style, drop-out rates have decreased, modes of communication have expanded, vocational education is flourishing, participation in the arts is at an all-time high, recognition programs for academic achievement have increased and school pride is most visible on the faces of students and staff.

The list of program innovations include the Freshman Academy, school-wide Advisory, the Authentic Assessment Team, Panther TV and senior projects.

Fry's leadership has also paved the way for a school-wide literacy initiative, new math and writing labs and an increase in the allocation of classroom technology.

Fry received her undergraduate degree from Stonehill College and a master's degree from Bridgewater State University. She has completed all coursework toward a doctorate at Lesley University and is working on her dissertation.

Prior to serving as principal at Plymouth South, Fry served as a Spanish teacher and an assistant principal at Barnstable High School. After her years in Barnstable, she became principal at Seekonk High School. In addition, Fry is a popular presenter on the workshop circuit, having spoken in Manchester, N.H.; Tampa, Fla.; and San Francisco, Calif.

Fry is married to Scott Fry and they have a 4-year-old son, Cooper. She said she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially by the ocean.

Photo courtesy of Mark Fornaciari