Wilson Classical High School Principal Lew Kerns was one of 25 educators nationwide honored as a role model this week by the National Civic League.
The league gave Kerns the 2008 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors In Education Award, which recognizes America’s 25 most collaborative school principals for making an impact beyond their schools for the betterment of the entire community.
The award comes with a $5,000 grant, which Wilson will use to establish a scholarship fund for students whose volunteerism creates bridges between the school and the community.
Community members and several of Kerns’ colleagues nominated him for the award.
“It’s an honor when your colleagues recognize your work,” Kerns said. “I’ve always believed that the school and the community are one and the same. The community needs us, and we need them. It’s all about working together for the kids.”
One of Kerns’ many nominators said the principal often acts as a conduit between Wilson and the local community.
Recently, Kerns worked with the City of Long Beach Water Department to develop an Earth Day event for citizens of Long Beach. Wilson students volunteered at the event.
“He’s helping our school integrate service learning into the curriculum of several courses,” said Marty Axelson, service learning coordinator at Wilson.
The award recognizes principals who build partnerships with community organizations and parents; resolve conflicts and promote safety in the school and the community; and promote civic engagement and community service.
Each year, Ambassadors In Education alternates recognition between teachers and principals. Previous award winners in Long Beach include teacher Fay Tracy of Newcomb K-8 Academy and teacher Devon Day of Wilson.
Kerns will be presented with his award this month during a ceremony at Wilson. He will receive a crystal apple, and his community involvement practices will be profiled as a resource for other schools and communities across the nation.
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