By Paula Ebben 

BOSTON (CBS) – The 2018 Massachusetts Elementary School Principal of the Year is the leader of a school in Boston where 80% of the students are economically disadvantaged and 32% do not speak English as their first language at home. This is his sixth year as Principal at the Michael J. Perkins School, and Craig Martin gets rave reviews from his students.

Fifth grader Anjuli Patel says, “He’s very inspiring and like he makes me want to come to school and learn and get a good education.”

Her classmate Jayden Travers calls Mr. Martin “kind and caring” and Zidane Nogueiro adds “he will just never stop – he’s fun!”

Martin stresses that the key to success at a school like the Perkins, which he’s taken from Level Three to Level One, is that he is invested – he’s all in.

“This is a calling – I honestly feel like you have to make decisions that you are all the way in with this. You could just say I’m going to phone it in – no not with these souls here, not the kids we serve because they need us 100%.”

And he shows kids they are loved. “I hug kids I show affection I give them a handshake, the high fives,” he says.

Mr. Martin’s style gets results and has shown a lot of success. Under his leadership, suspensions are down 50% and chronic absenteeism is down 22%.

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