PERRY HALL, MD—Being an assistant principal is not an easy job. Add a pandemic, online learning, and a ransomware attack and the role of being an instructional leader in 2020 is even more difficult. Despite the additional challenges this year brought, one Baltimore County Public Schools administrator was recently recognized as the best in the state.
On December 23, Deana Giannelli of Perry Hall Middle School was recognized as the Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals.
Perry Hall Middle School Principal Lisa Perry describes Giannelli as “a valued member of the administrative team” and said, “Ms. Giannelli is level-headed and a good decision-maker. She looks at a situation from all perspectives: parent, teacher, administrator, and student. She ensures that she takes everything into account before making a decision.”
To Perry Hall Middle students, “Mrs. G” is a constant. She began her BCPS career at the school 20 years ago as a math teacher. Before becoming assistant principal, she also served as math team leader and department chair. During normal years, she is the first face students and parents see when they come to school in the morning, as she stands in the bus loop, clipboard and radio in hand.
As assistant principal, Giannelli develops a schedule for over 1,900 students, coordinates registration with elementary schools, and provides feedback to teachers as she conducts observations. She provides professional development for teachers, fosters community by creating family newsletters, promotes school spirit with friendly “Color Wars” competitions, and frequently reaches out to parents and families to discuss supports and interventions for their children.
Students are often found in Giannelli’s office — for a wide range of reasons. “Mrs. Giannelli utilizes restorative practices to mediate situations between students and when teachers and students need mediation to ensure a successful learning environment,” said Karen Yelito, social studies department chair. In addition, students seek the assistant principal out to share their successes with her and when they need advice.
Giannelli, a Honeygo resident, was celebrated in a small, socially-distanced ceremony with the Perry Hall Middle administrative team and her family: husband Will and sons Carson, Parker and Chase. Teachers sent video congratulations and well-wishes.
Giannelli’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and a master’s degree in leadership and administration from the College of Notre Dame (now Notre Dame of Maryland University).