“I don’t settle for normal,” Nanette McCann says. “I want to be the best. I want our teachers to be the best, our students to be the best, our school to be the best.”
Many would agree that McCann has reached her goal. The Baton Rouge Magnet High School principal has been named 2013 State High School Principal of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education. The honor comes after many years of accomplishments for both McCann and Baton Rouge High. In 2010, Magnet Schools of America named her Principal of the Year, and this college preparatory school has repeatedly ranked on Newsweek’s annual America’s Best High Schools list.
In tandem with the principal’s most recent honor comes the reopening of Baton Rouge High following a $58.2 million refurbishment. “It was challenging,” admits McCann, when asked about the two years that the school operated out of the Lee High School campus. “But this school—our dream school—was always the goal. So in the end, it’s very rewarding.” The building’s original Neo-gothic grandeur harmonizes with modern additions: dedicated wings for performing arts, science and technology, and a light-filled library with soaring ceilings—her favorite part of the project.
But McCann doesn’t play favorites when it comes to those entrusted to her care. She sets goals and follows through until she achieves results. She’s relentless in the pursuit of excellence. And, in her 10 years at Baton Rouge High, she’s counted her own successes and those of her students and teachers equally. “I don’t want to let anyone fail. It’s right here,” she says, patting her shoulders. “That’s my job.”