FLORIDA COURIER STAFF
Martin T. Reid, principal of Arthur & Polly Mays 6-12 Conservatory of the Arts, has been named the the national 2016 Principal of the Year for Magnet Schools of America (MSA). Reid was honored during the MSA national conference held the first week in may in Miami.
A once dying school with a small magnet program, the school now has a waiting list to get in.
Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts School, whose 1935 building is designated as a historical site, was one of the first schools to offer a K-12 education to African-Americans during segregation.
Over time, it became a junior high, high school, middle school and finally what it is today, a sixth-12th grade magnet school for students interested in the visual, performing, and communicative arts.
‘Best job in the world’
Reid became principal of Mays Middle school in 2009. He wrote the initial concept paper for the establishment of the Conservatory, which was accepted and approved by the district becoming the first 6-12 grade school in Miami-Dade County.
In his seven years as principal, Reid has promoted equity and diversity among the students as well as equitable academic success for all students.
“I feel that I have the best job in the world because on a daily basis, I get a chance to make a difference in the lives of my students by ensuring they receive a high quality education that prepares them for their future endeavors.” Reid stated.
He is a graduate of Florida A&M University and has more than 20 years of experience in administration and leadership.
Under Reid’s leadership, the school has been awarded three National Merit Awards and the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Support the Music Award.
“My husband was hesitant to send our son to Mays due to the reputation of the school and the neighborhood. After we attended an orientation and heard Mr. Reid speak, my husband was blown away. Needless to say, my son has been at Mays for five years and his sister will be attending next year,’’ said parent Bridget Milligan.
During the 2015 school year, Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts had its first graduating class of 72 seniors. They earned over $1.2 million in scholarship offers, received acceptances into 60 colleges and universities, and exceeded graduation rates both locally and nationally. Many of these students will be the first in their families to go to college.