Mary Donnelly

Guest Blogger

Principal, John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School

Baltimore, Maryland

Mary Donnelly, in her 15th year as principal at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School in East Highlandtown, has served Baltimore City students as a district employee for the past 42 years. Ms. Donnelly has overseen a period of major demographic change for the school, including a tremendous growth in enrollment (from 200 to 826 students as part of a conversion to K-8) and an increase in the percentage of students for whom English is a second language.

She has adapted her leadership style to address the changing needs of her school community and works tirelessly to make her school a welcoming and safe space that address the needs of all children and families. As a community partner put it, “Ms. Donnelly has worked to ensure that all families are included in school and feel that they can participate in their child’s learning.”

RECENT POSTS

Posted May 20, 2016

Meet a Baltimore Principal Who After 42 Years Is Still Showing Heart

In 1974, I started my journey as a fifth-grade teacher at Abbottston Elementary—the following week, all the teachers went on…

By Mary Donnelly

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Posted Dec. 1, 2021

When Charters Grow From Communities, They Can and Do Increase Equity

BES (Build, Excel, Sustain) started its Fellowship program 20 years ago to support school leaders with the preparation and professional development they needed to design,…

By Aasimah Navlakhi

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Posted Dec. 1, 2021

The Gifted and Talented Debates Aren’t About Rigor, They’re About Access

An interesting, complicated, and rather polarizing trend is going around in American education, and it has to do with special admission schools and the designation…

By Zachary Wright 

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Posted Nov. 30, 2021

Principals Must Be Hope Dealers In Schools and Communities

During a recent conversation, Murleen Coakley, principal of Greenfield Union in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, reminded me how much being a great principal…

By Robert Simmons

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