Steven Santilli, the principal at the William Davies Middle School, received a national award for his work at the Hamilton Township school at Saturday's "Bammy Awards".

Santilli was the winner of the middle school principal award at the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences black tie event held in Washington, D.C.

He has been the Davies principal for four years and an educator in South Jersey for 15 years.

The Bammy Awards are described as a cross-discipline honor that identifies and acknowledges the extraordinary work being done across the entire education field every day-- from teachers, principals and superintendents, to school nurses, support staff, advocates, researchers, school custodians, early childhood specialists, education journalists, parents and students.

The Bammy Awards were created to help reverse the negative national narrative that dominates the education field.

The nomination for his Bammy Award included many glowing recommendations about Mr. Santilli written by fellow educators, parents and staff. This kind of passionate support shows what a positive impact he has had at the Davies Middle School.  Congratulations, Mr. Santilli!

Here are a few of those recommendations...

......"Stephen is a true lead learner who is always looking to learn so he can continue to support the growth and evolution of his school. He is passionate, knowledgeable, giving, compassionate, dedicated and his primary goal is always to do what is in the best interest of children.

Stephen is also always looking for opportunities to learn and grow and enhance his skill set as an educator and leader. He consistently looks for ways to push himself outside of his comfort zone and expand his point of view. His ability to balance his passion with an amazingly positive attitude make him one of the best educators I know!"

....."Mr. Santilli has worked proactively to connect with both his staff and the parent community. He is a leader in our district for school-to-home communications particularly in his use of social media. This is essential as his student population, middle school children, are not diligent about bringing home traditional printed materials. His efforts keep pace with the evolving nature of modern “community”. He also makes convenient use of parents’ waiting time during school dances to host parental involvement committee meetings and often brings in keynote speakers to enrich and inform parents.

Mr. Santilli is the kind of leader that chooses not to position himself and his staff as “us versus them” in parent relations; He strives for a “we” approach so that all stakeholders in student success feel engaged, empowered, and responsible for producing the best student outcomes. Symbolic of this leadership choice is his decision to re-brand himself from the traditional title of “Principal” to the more apt label of “Lead Learner”. This sets the tone for the environment he nurtures in his building.

Mr. Santilli is a frequent school community champion for resources that will both enrich his students’ school experience and prepare them for the rigors of the 21st century workplace. He strongly supports “green” initiatives and technology integration and works hard with his staff and the Board of Education and Superintendent to provide these in students’ curricula. He also revived the long dormant Hamilton Township School District Education Foundation, a non-profit fundraising group that provides grant opportunities to in-district teachers for unique and community enhancing projects".

......"Mr.Santilli is a visionary educator. He serves as an exemplary leader, mentor, and "lead learner." He is inspiring! It is a privilege to work with him"!