Maurice McKoy, reading to the children.

BALTIMORE, Md., March 27, 2015 — A Baltimore educator who decided to give back to his hometown by overseeing effective after-school and summer learning programs for low-income kids has been honored with his organization’s highest award for educational leadership.

Maurice McKoy, a product himself of the Baltimore City Public Schools, joined the nonprofit group BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) in 2007.  For the last two years, he has led BELL’s after-school and summer programs at Harlem Park Elementary & Middle Schools and now has earned the organization’s Robert B. Peterkin Award for Educational Leadership.

McKoy’s colleagues describe him as fiercely dedicated to his students’ success, both in and out of the classroom.

“Maurice is the type of leader who puts his hand to the plow,” said Damon Johnson, BELL’s Director of Program Operations in Baltimore.  “I’ve watched him do everything from clean the cafeteria to serve dinner to step into a classroom and participate in a lesson with a teacher. He has rightfully earned the respect of his staff, the school, parents and peers.”

When asked what makes a great program leader, McKoy emphasized personal engagement with students and the community, something with which he is quite familiar.

“Be a part of scholars’ lives,” said McKoy.  “Provide resources that meet their needs and the needs of their parents.  For example, we have partnered with the Maryland Food Bank to ensure that Harlem Park kids get breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and also go home on Friday with groceries to cover their weekend meals.”

This is the second consecutive year a Baltimore educator has received the Peterkin Award; Johnson was honored last year for his summer program leadership.  Each winner receive an award and a check for $1,000.

The Peterkin Award is named for a long-time BELL board member and former director of the Urban Superintendents Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Winners are chosen based on BELL staff nominations, student assessments, parent and teacher surveys and data on the success of their programs.