PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Public School Principal Richard Gordon is the recipient of two prestigious awards: the 2020 Distinguished Service to Education Award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Pennsylvania Principals Association 2020 Principal of the Year.
Gordon has been the principal at the Paul Robeson High School for Human Services since 2013.
He transformed the school, which was once one of Philadelphia's 30 lowest-performing schools and in danger of closing permanently.
He has been credited with developing a model program for college and career readiness and achieving a 95 percent graduation rate.
He told me today that he learned he'd won one of the awards after learning one of his students had passed away, the victim of gun violence.
"I had been dealing the entire day with the family just trying to console and be of support," Gordon remembered. "And then later on that afternoon I got a phone call by the chair of the committee and when he told me about the award, that I was the state principal of the year, I actually cried to be honest with you because I had such an emotional day. So to go from such an emotional low to an emotional high was a challenge for me personally."
Gordon added, "This award is just a testament to the hard work of our staff and our students and our parents who came in and believed in me from day one. We stuck together as a team. They are some of the hardest working staff and students I have ever had the privilege of being associated with. And this is just the fruits of their labors, and I am just proud to be a representative of all the wonderful work that's happening in our school."
As a state winner, Principal Gordon will be a nominee for the National Principal of the Year award.
Philadelphia Public School Principal Receiving Two Prestigious Awards