BCS hires new secondary principal
BALDWIN — If Baldwin Community Schools wanted its next secondary principal to adhere to the district’s mission statement — “to prepare students for the promise of tomorrow” — and be someone who would continue to “grow a college going culture” within the district, it found that in its newest hire.
On June 25, during the BCS Board of Education regular meeting, the board approved the hiring of Calvin Patillo as the district’s new secondary principal. Patillo signed his contract with the district on June 16, and his first day on the job was July 1.
“(Patillo’s) knowledge of building a college going culture and his overall experiences, highly trained very professional,” were the reasons the search committee chose Patillo as its candidate for principal, said BCS Superintendent Stiles Simmons.
Patillo will replace outgoing interim Principal Troycie Nichols. In August, she replaced former secondary principal, Dan Bauer, who stepped down from the position in June to become Shelby Public Schools’ superintendent. Patillo was one of five finalists picked by the search committee to interview at BCS.
The 42-year-old educator has spent most of his personal and professional life on the east side of the state. He grew up in Southfield and attended Oak Park Schools for the duration of his foundation education.
After graduating high school in 1989, he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. In 1994, Patillo received his degree in secondary education, with a major in social studies and a minor in language arts.
After graduating, Patillo worked as a substitute teacher in Oak Park Schools and Southfield Public Schools. In 1997, he was hired as a substitute teacher with Detroit Public Schools and later that same year signed a contract with the district. He would spend the next 17 years with the district.
During his time with DPS, Patillo worked as a teacher, curriculum coordinator, assistant principal and principal in several of the district’s schools.
His final job he held at the district before coming to Baldwin was principal of Osborn College Preparatory Academy. While there, Patillo and his staff were able to address non-academic needs of the students like code violations and a gang culture, and make gains in student achievement, he said.
This past school year was the first year the academy had a graduating class. Ninety-seven percent of the graduating class was accepted to a college and 100 percent of those accepted received some type of scholarship — a total of $1.1 million in scholarship funding. Ninety-two percent of students also completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
“I left a place where it was on the upswing,” Patillo said. “We still have some of the same known variables that take place in the urban city, but I can honestly say Osborn is on the upswing. I really believe there is some good that is going to happen out of there.”
At the same time Patillo and his staff were making changes to the culture at Osborn, he also realized he needed to make a change in his life and began looking for a new challenge. Something he often told studenst and parents who were apprehensive about the prospect of college was that they needed to try new things and experience and conquer the world.
“In the same time, I realized as I was preaching that to them, I also need to do the exact same thing,” Patillo said.
Patillo had visited Baldwin before and knew he enjoyed the peacefulness of the rural setting, residents’ friendly demeanor and its diverse population. So when he was offered the job, he decided to take the opportunity and prove he is an educator of all students, not just urban populations.
While still new to the position, Patillo is taking his time to look over the school’s data and test scores and is becoming familiarized with the district. However, he has found many of the things he implemented to grow a college going culture in DPS schools are the same things happening at BCS.
As principal, Patillo hopes to talk to students and parents about early preparation for college. He wants students to understand that going to college is obtainable and expected from them. He would like to see teachers discuss their schooling and different possible career paths with students.
Constantly exposing students to college can help make them less fearful of applying and going to college, he said. Familiarizing students with college campuses, work and life will continue to grow a college going culture.
For now though, Patillo is looking forward to starting something new in his life and continuing the gains he sees BCS making, he said.