Christine Handy - Education

Darnestown, Maryland

Dr. Christine Handy has more than 18 years experience as teacher, track coach and high school principal and has made a significant impact on thousands of students and families. Her life mission is to enhance the life of others via education, counseling & coaching. Christine started as a Special Education teacher and has recently led a $97.8 million dollar school construction project, opening a new high school in Montgomery County, Maryland serving over 2400 students. As an award winning leader, she was the 2006 Maryland Principal of the Year and received the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in School Leadership. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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69 Comments
Lynn Nelson

Dr. Handy is an inspirational leader with an incredible combination of vision, commitment, and courage. She is unafraid to make the challenging decisions that are necessary to drive a successful organization. Her adroit interpersonal abilities enable her to effortless lead her teams to unparalleled levels of achievement. Dr. Handy's change management skills have enhanced the learning environment for the Gaithersburg community. Her infectious enthusiasm has instilled a common sense of purpose within her colleagues and touched the lives of her staff in a positive manner. I have had the privilege of serving under Dr. Handy and those experiences have enhanced my own leadership abilities. In my opinion, she embodies the exact attributes of the Maxwell Award.

June 18 at 7:42 AM
Erin Mazer

I consider Dr. Handy a mentor, colleague and friend. Through my tenure in working with her, she continuously challenged me to grow professionally. The knowledge she had imparted on me had been an asset as I further my career. She encourages me to be better each day and my successes have been due to her support. She is the true definition of a role model and a strong educational leader.

June 16 at 6:39 AM
DJ Alexander

Dr. Handy is the most dedicated, passionate, and caring educator that I personally know. She is the primary reason why I decided to pursue teaching as a career. She has been my #1 mentor since I was in middle school. Excellence is the only standard that she accepts from her students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Handy demonstrates every skill that you look for in a school leader.

June 15 at 6:12 PM
James Sweeney

Dr. Handy is a caring individual who is the heart ans soul of Gaithersburg High School. We have worked together in the Gaithersburg cluster for the last nine years together. She is a champion for her students and has brought much stability and leadership to the school. Several students from Rosemont Elementary (where I am the princpal) have experienced success at Gaithersburg due to Dr. Handy's strong leadership. Many are going on to four year colleges and have received scholarships. She is truly an asset to the Gaithersburg cluster! With Trojan Pride!!!

June 15 at 4:08 AM
Carole A. Working

Dr. Christine Handy is smart and charismatic, and she cares passionately about students and the work of educators. She empathizes with the needs of students, those who work in schools, and with the needs of the communities we serve. She has the energy and the enthusiasm to bring her passion to life. These qualities and others make her a visionary leader with a clear idea of where she wants to lead her school, how to get there, and how to convince others to work toward those goals. She is constantly engaged in the conversation about professional excellence, student achievement, equity for all students, the components of outstanding instruction, the importance of thoughtful assessment, the necessity to serve the whole child, and the role of the school in serving the community. She is well respected by her peers and trusted to articulate the myriad of issues confronting our students and schools every day. She is a leader who embraces challenges and inspires others to do the same.

June 14 at 5:09 PM
Bernadette White

Dr. Christine Handy is the epitome of grace of under fire. As the principal of a very large suburban high school in a city that was recently voted as the most diverse city in the country, Dr. Handy has demonstrated her committed to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovative programming. Our student population is a reflection of the city—a diverse group of students academically, culturally, economically and socially. Dr. Handy takes it all in stride by building coalitions between feeder schools, the PTSA, community groups/partners and local government. Her vision for this school is one that embraces the philosophy that all students can learn and achieve. She is most deserving of the John Maxwell Leadership Award.

June 14 at 7:02 AM
Christine Handy

Thank you everyone for your kind words. You are the wind beneath my wings! I am a servant leader and am proud to have served each of you in some way. You have touched my life in more ways than you will ever know. I am forever grateful that our paths have crossed!

June 13 at 6:59 PM
Charles Feamster

Dr. Handy Collins is committed to children in MCPS. She continually supports the needs in her school as well working to make sure that students throughout the county have access to needed resources through her work with MCABSE (The Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators). She frequently mentors administrators by giving the sound advice on managing and leading for equity and good teaching so students benefit from having a truly inspirational learning experience. Her slogans for success typically keep me motivated to being my best as it does to her staff members and her students.

June 13 at 4:54 PM
Michelle Sobers

Dr. Handy is a passionate, dedicated professional, that always puts the needs of students first. She is committed to the work of equity and advocacy. Dr. Handy is famous for responding to all request by posing the question "Is it good for students?". Her unwavering support of professionals and students has made it a joy to work for a leader who has such a clear vision/mission and makes decisions based on those principles. Dr. Handy sets the bar high yearly with her expectations of herself and others as part of her leadership goals. Professional and personally, I have had the honor of witnessing her work to move the achievement of students forward. She has constantly driven me to partner with her in the belief in the power of answering yes to the question,” If it is in the best interest of students; then we do it !" She has also provided me with a great deal of support to grow professionally and to take the appropriate steps to achieve my professional goals. As a result of her leadership, one cannot help but be inspired and moved to make positive change happen in education. I congratulate her on this honor and endorse Dr. Christine Handy as the 2016 John C. Maxwell Leadership Award recipient.

June 13 at 11:47 AM
Jennifer Bado-Aleman

Dr. Handy is a dedicated educator who is committed to supporting student success. As the school continues to grow in terms of its needs and diversity, Dr. Handy is unwavering in her advocacy and dedication to serving this community of learners,and in her purpose in unifying the school. She believes and promotes that "Trojan Pride is on the Rise" for all students at GHS. As a leader, she is willing to listen to and support emerging teacher-leaders, understanding that their professional and personal growth ultimately means student growth and improvement for the school, as a whole. Dr. Handy has personally supported and encouraged me in my professional pursuits and aspirations, and is always willing to lend a kind word of support or recommendation when needed. I congratulate her in this honor.

June 13 at 11:15 AM
Sylvia K. Morrison, Ed.D.

As the principal of Gaithersburg High School, Dr. Handy is a principled leader that acts with integrity, tenacity, and determination to meet the needs of the students, staff, and community. An exceptional leader, Dr. Handy goes “above and beyond” in her administrative and managerial tasks to lead strong teams to listen, speak out, and act on behalf of all students and their families. As an instructional leader, Dr. Handy implements school-wide programs that contribute to improving prospects for students and works with teachers, counselors, and other stakeholders to implement tailored programs with the goal of improving teaching and learning. Dr. Handy does a remarkable job of motivating students to achieve and perform within and beyond the classroom setting. Her long-range vision and day-to-day decision-making skills make it possible for her to work with the staff to create learning opportunities and eliminate academic barriers to increase student achievement. Of particular importance is Dr. Handy’s ability to work with community leaders to address the needs of at-risk students in settings beyond the classroom. Dr. Handy willingly collaborates with stakeholders to develop strategies and outreach programs to support students and parents that are impacted by social-economic, language, and mental health challenges. She is sensitive, flexible, respected, and admired by the school community. Taken together, these are the qualities that make it possible for Dr. Handy to work so tirelessly with community leaders to implement programs to support students and their families. There are many situations in which Dr. Handy has intervened and sacrificed her time, energy, and resources to support and provide assistance for families. Her caring attitude and interpersonal skills are exceptional and have made a difference throughout the school community.

June 13 at 6:28 AM
Everett Davis

As a former administrator in the Gaithersburg cluster, I was always inspired by Dr. Handy's leadership. She, along with many others, encouraged me to pursue my path to the principalship. As a principal, she continues to provide support and mentorship whenever needed. My father-in-law served as pastor at a church right down the street from Gaitthersburg HS and continued to hear rave reviews about the school community. He would often ask me who is the principal at GHS? I would like to meet her. My wife serves on one of the advisory boards at GHS which provides support and mentorship to students interested in the health field. She echoes the charisma and passion that Dr. Handy has for her students and work. To provide a student perspective, I still keep in contact with several members of the male mentoring group that I cosponsored during my tenure at one of the feeder middle schools. Although these students experienced many challenges, she refused to let any of these "barriers" prevent them from succeeding. I was so glad that she invited me to their graduation so that I could personally witness and celebrate in their success. Dr. Handy, "Trojan Pride" continues to be on the rise because of where you have set the bar.

June 12 at 9:40 AM
Shaleta Smallwood-Sizemore

Coach Christine Handy wears many hats. Her resume and list of accomplishments are extremely numerous. She is a great inspiration on the track and most definitely off the track. Dr. Handy has been a wonderful asset to my life. As my track coach at Granby High School she taught us to cheer for your team members at all times. Keep a positive attitude and hustle in all situations. She drilled in us that we are family and we take care of each other. Most of all we are ladies and we conduct ourselves as such in all aspects of life. As a wife and mother and employee I have used the traits she instilled in me. I have graduated with two degrees, worked for a few prestigious employers and currently pursuing another degree. I thank God for placing her in my life. Dr. Christine Handy exemplifies this award very well. She is truly deserving of the James C. Maxwell Leadership award.

June 11 at 2:03 PM
Teresa Rios Wright

As Community Engagement Liaison, Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships, Montgomery County Public Schools, I have worked closely with Dr. Christine Handy, principal of Gaithersburg High School. She deserves the 2016 John C. Maxwell Leadership Award because of her: • Concern and hard work for the academic success and human development of all of her students, including minority students and English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL) • Outreach to assist all parents in meeting their children’s academic and emotional needs. • Encouragement of parents to become involved in school programs and activities. • Prompt, firm and fair response to students’ problems. • Encouragement and support of innovative programs with school resources. • Encouragement and support of career development for teachers and staff. Dr. Handy has shown concern for and commitment to helping students achieve success in school and as citizens and human beings. She always is available to see and help students with their problems. She communicates well with the shy student or the outgoing high achiever . Dr. Handy believes in success for every student and understands how profoundly the family situation affects the success of a student. She stimulates and welcomes parental involvement. She encourages and participates in special meetings for parents on important issues such as health care and academic achievement. She works with the staff and community to arrange special support for families and students in need. She makes the ESOL and Hispanic parents an integral part of the school community. At Gaithersburg High School there is a wonderful partnership between staff, parents, students, Wellness Center, city of Gaithersburg and community. Dr. Handy’s leadership fosters a humane and effective educational environment. She deserves the recognition of the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award.

June 11 at 1:21 PM
Donna Sagona

It is with "Trojan Pride" that I write this note in support of Dr. Christine Handy as I am privileged to work with and learn from her as a fellow Gaithersburg Cluster Principal. The Gaithersburg Cluster schools are very close, not in proximity, but through our common values and beliefs about our students and their futures. Christine is not only the principal of the cluster high school, but she is the unspoken leader of our group. My students are her students. She knows that strong elementary schools are key to a strong high school and she is always available to support us. She demands much from her students, staff, and herself. The high school's reputation has soured under her leadership. If you are a student at the high school, you are a "Trojan"....and Trojans are strong in academics and skilled in their social interactions. If you are a Trojan, you have "Trojan Pride." You do not disrespect yourself or your school. Dr. Handy exudes this message. Not just in her words (Trojan Pride is on the rise." is her manta) but in her actions. She is constantly "bragging" about her students. She's always on point with her messages. She is on a mission and that is to share the good news about her students' performances. We hear about the number of scholarships, the college acceptances, the Signature Learning academies, and their community service work. Dr. Handy knows how to turn a vision into a reality and she is doing just that at GHS. Gaithersburg High School, and the Gaithersburg Cluster Schools, have a positive BRAND! Much of this PRIDE in Gaithersburg comes from her work. Perhaps my favorite thing about Dr. Handy is that she recognizes excellence and knows the power of communicating it. She views the feeder schools as the high school's farm team and never loses an opportunity to value the work that is being done in our elementary schools. Everyone grows as a result of Christine's leadership.

June 11 at 9:14 AM
Keisha D. Robinson-Track

Dr. Christine Handy Collins…Where do I began? I met “Coach Handy” as a doe-eyed high school freshman in 1993, when I joined the girls’ track team at Granby High School in Norfolk, VA. From the beginning, she encouraged my growth and pushed for excellence more off the field than she did on. She led by example, always urging us to challenge ourselves and not to settle for mediocrity; and so it was I remained an honor student throughout my high school career. Coach handy was also very instrumental in my winning an academic scholarship to college, during my senior year. I had the worst case of Senioritis and was in no mood to write a 2000 word essay. Nonetheless she stayed on me and refused to allow me to quit on myself. I ultimately won the $5000 scholarship, among many others. Fast forward twenty years, in 2013, I became an In-School Intervention Coordinator at Gaithersburg High school, where Dr. Handy-Collins currently presides as Principal. Not much has changed. She remains humbly accessible and is still pushing, nurturing, advocating, cheering and empowering her students and staff to be their best selves and holds them accountable when they fall short. Both qualities are necessary in a dynamic leader. It is for these reasons and countless others that I endorse without reservation, Dr. Christine Handy Collins as the 2016 John C. Maxwell Leadership Award recipient.

June 11 at 1:34 AM
Jessica Pollard - School Counselor - GHS

Dr. Handy embodies the true essence of a leader. She inspires students and staff to seek excellence in any and all endeavors. She is committed to creating an environment of inclusiveness for all who enter Gaithersburg High School to teach and to learn. She develops collaborative relationships with parents and community leaders and constituents. Dr. Handy cares about others and has seen the programs and services grow to include support and guidance for all students regardless of academic or income level. She receives my fervent endorsement for this most prestigious award.

June 10 at 7:43 PM
Sonja Bloetner, ESOL Supervisor

Dr. Christine Handy has been a tremendous support to the diverse students her school. She works hard to ensure that her students have access to college and career options by accessing parent outreach and counseling supports to keep her students engaged in the school community. She is a champion for all of her students!!!

June 10 at 6:23 PM
Rob Harper

If the quality of one’s life is measured by how deeply one touches the lives of others, then Dr. Christine Handy’s life has been rich. I have been privileged to witness her outstanding leadership as a proud principal for several years. To use a popular sports analogy, it has been said that the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of any league is recognized for having the singular capacity to make other people around them better – they bring out the best in all whom they lead. This is the true hallmark of a great leader; and great leaders also reproduce leadership in others. Dr. Handy works diligently to ensure that her teachers become better, and are equipped to be leaders in the classroom. She also values student leadership, and provides opportunities for them to excel and become better. She has mentored assistant principals who have moved on to positions of leadership. Through her distinguished leadership, Dr. Handy continues to make people better and is very deserving of the John Maxwell Leadership Award. She is a true MVP.

June 10 at 3:23 PM
Vernitta Tucker

Inspiring is the first word I think of to describe Dr. Handy. When I taught English at Gaithersburg High School, she was my principal. At the time, I attended graduate to receive a master's in literature, and whenever I needed a word of encouragement, Dr. Handy was who I'd share my struggles. I never received any word other than "You are awesome, and you are going to do well." She knew that, at the time, I was interested in becoming an author, and she encouraged all of my efforts toward becoming the best I could be. As a teacher, she praised my creativity and love of teaching. One of the reasons I decided to become an administrator was because she planted the seed for the idea. When I applied for a position, she was a strong advocate. In summary, whatever I've tried to accomplish within the 9 years I've known her, she contributed to my success not just with words but with deeds. Dr. Handy is exceptional.

June 10 at 1:59 PM
Dwayne Jackson

Dr. Handy gave me an opportunity four years ago to become a high school counselor, after having been a middle school counselor and elementary school counselor. She has been a motivator and an encourager to me during my tenure here at Gaithersburg High School. Dr. Handy leads Gaithersburg High with "PRIDE" and stands strong on her beliefs on being a game changer for students and the community.

June 10 at 8:14 AM
Sharon Fitzgerald

Dr. Handy is the reason why I am an employee of Montgomery County Public Schools. She exemplifies leadership by building capacity in all of her teachers and administrators. I've always admired her commitment to coach her staff and students in order to promote professional growth and increase academic achievement in her school. She continues to reinvent herself and provide countless opportunities for you to grow under her leadership.

June 09 at 8:34 PM
James P. Koutsos

Dr. Handy personifies leadership and commitment to children. Throughout her tenure at Gaithersburg High School, Dr. Handy has established the trusting relationships necessary to set high expectations and lead an instructional program that guides her students toward their goals. In moments of triumph and tragedy, the Gaithersburg community can always count on Dr. Handy to be there . . . standing with them, encouraging them, supporting them, loving them. As she often states, she "believes in the power of (their) dreams!" She is truly an inspiration to all.

June 09 at 8:44 AM
Tiffany C. McEwan

Humble, ambitious, strong, personable, supportive and effective . These are traits I use to describe Dr. Christine Handy. I've had the pleasure of working with Dr. Handy for the past four years in the capacity of a member of our school's administrative team. Always striving for excellence, she inspires others to attain the same and supports one in reaching the desired goal. She encourages you to move out of your comfort zone and stretch your learning experiences which I truly appreciate. It's amazing to watch her work! Always on the move, but has time for staff and students to support their needs. Because of these things, I feel Dr. Handy is a perfect addition to the John Maxwell Team.

June 09 at 7:46 AM
Todd Nutter

Champion! Dr. Handy is an inspirational instructional leader that engages in all aspects of the "work" that benefits each and every student at Gaithersburg High School. As the Proud Principal, Dr. Handy has created an instructional climate that all stakeholders can appreciate. Excellence, Tone of Decency, and High Expectations are evident in everything Dr. Handy does for the school community.

June 09 at 7:39 AM