Longtime Middle States volunteer Patricia “Trish” M. Shine, a writing clinician at Mt. Lebanon High School in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., is this year’s recipient of the annual Henry G. Cram Accreditation Leadership Award.
The award recognizes unsung heroes of the accreditation process who devote countless hours and energy to obtain and maintain accreditation of their schools.
“I am thrilled to receive this recognition,” Shine said. “I pour a lot of my energy into Middle States and think of it as continuing the legacy excellence in education.”
The award is named in honor of Henry “Hank” G. Cram, Ed.D., who served as president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools for 14 years before retiring in 2019.
Recipients are chosen because they have strong belief in and deep understanding of the Middle States accreditation process and a track record of creating and maintaining a school culture focused on continuous school improvement.
Shine has twice served as the Middle States Internal Coordinator at Mt. Lebanon High School and has been the school’s Middle States liaison for 14 years. She has served on 11 Middle States peer review teams, including six as chair.
“It’s so validating for a school to really step back and look at itself,” Shine said. “I love being a part of that.”
Shine joined the faculty at Mt. Lebanon in 2006, after teaching at Vincentian Academy in Pittsburgh – where she attended high school – for five years. Transitioning from a school with just a few hundred students to one with more than 1,500 was a challenge, Shine said.
However, serving as the schools internal coordinator for accreditation helped her find her place.
“I liked it, and I kind of got good at it,” said Shine, who described herself as “freakishly organized.”
Shine said she also enjoys serving on peer review teams because she always learns something that she can take back to her school and because it helps validate the good work Mt. Lebanon is already doing.
“Inevitably, I end up thinking ‘yeah, we’re good,’” Shine said.
For schools in the process of applying for accreditation or reaccreditation, Shine offered this advice:
Stay organized. Make sure you put numbers on your survey.
Start thinking about evidence/artifacts at the start of the self-study process
Delegate. That’s another way of staying organized.