PLANO — Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, named Prince of Peace Catholic School in Plano, Texas, a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School in a press conference on Tuesday, September 19. It is the third time in the school’s history to be named a Blue Ribbon School, joining just fifty-three private schools nationwide, including six schools in Texas and only three in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, to be recognized three or more times. Prince of Peace was previously recognized in 2006 and 2016.
“The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to raise the bar in education,” Cardona said. “The leaders, educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures… We take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students, and engaging families.”
Status as a National Blue Ribbon School is based on a school’s overall academic performance, as evidenced by either consistently high test scores or its success in closing achievement gaps. The 2023 award recognizes Prince of Peace for its academic performance.
“Being honored the last three decades – 2006, 2016, and now 2023 – speaks to this community’s enduring commitment to educational excellence,” said the school’s president, Faustin Weber. “We’re grateful for the pastoral support of Father [Michael] Forge; the strong leadership of our principal, Meghan Jones; our assistant principals, Dawn Gorlitz and Sarah Harris; our dean of students, Mary Pecikonis; and the hard work of our teachers and staff. Schools aren’t successful without supportive parents and talented students, and we’re blessed with both. We’re proud to join with All Saints Catholic School and Christ the King Catholic School as three-time winners in the DFW area.”
While National Blue Ribbon Schools may vary in demographics, location, and offerings, they share a set of common values, according to the National Blue Ribbon School program. The administrators lead with a clear vision, encourage community members’ buy-in and facilitate student growth by making new learning methods and instructional feedback available to teachers. Faculty members feel valued and supported by school leadership as they are provided access to cutting-edge academic technology, professional development, and opportunities for innovation. Student success is bolstered by individualized classroom instruction and project-based learning initiatives, and students are challenged to both meet and exceed academic standards.
“Recognition as a three-time National Blue Ribbon School awardee is an outstanding accomplishment and an incredible honor for Prince of Peace,” Principal Meghan Jones said. “I am overwhelmed with pride for our teachers and staff members, who work tirelessly each day to provide exceptional educational experiences for our students. This award is a testament to the dedication of our teachers, the hard work of our students, and the support of our parents. It serves as a celebration of our community’s collective commitment to excellence.”
Jones and Gorlitz will represent the school in November in Washington, D.C., at the awards ceremony, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The school will receive a plaque and an American flag as a sign of its exemplary status. Additionally, a profile on each National Blue Ribbon School and details of each school’s achievements will be shared on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.