FORESTVILLE — Bishop McNamara High School Principal Dr. Nigel Traylor was named to the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund’s 2019 Forty Under 40 list on March 7.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to be selected for the Forty Under 40,” he said. “To be among leaders in Prince George’s County, to serve in the field of education and t be a part of that has been exciting.”
The Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund strives to build social capital and invest in new approaches to solving social challenges in Prince George’s County by supporting county infrastructure across public, private, religious, and non-profit sectors.
They support various initiatives and programs such as Prince George’s Rising, a study on the state of the county following the change in leadership following the November 2018 election and the challenges the county faces, and the Forty Under 40 program, the organization’s flagship initiative.
The program’s goal is to recognize top talents in the county across the areas of arts and humanities, business, education, health and fitness, public service and science and engineering. It not only recognizes people in these categories, but it works with them beyond this and helps to engage them in civic and socially oriented opportunities such as advisory board service and advocacy.
Traylor, originally from Atlanta, has an eclectic background ranging from fine art to school leadership. He first earned a degree in music earning a bachelors and masters in vocal performance. Additionally he has a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in advanced school leadership.
Because of his “arts meets education” background, when he heard about Bishop McNamara’s job opening, and the school’s reputation in the fine arts department, he thought it would be a good fit due to his fine arts and leadership experience.
He got involved with the school when they were on a national search for an assistant principal and academic dean. Traylor jumped at the opportunity and stayed in the role for three years until his predecessor decided he would not be returning the following year. When he was asked to step up, he readily accepted.
Since taking on the role of principal at Bishop McNamara, the most rewarding thing about it all has been working with the students, being in the classroom and watching the teachers do what they do. Forming these relationships has been what has made the experience worthwhile.
“Being able to serve as a role model and leader for the school has been fantastic because, you know, everything that we do as educators really has an impact on a student’s outcome. We have the power as teachers and leaders to influence what a student does with their life because everything we’ve learned, we’ve learned from a teacher.”
As one of the 200 of the Forty Under 40 honorees that the Social Innovation Fund has awarded over the five years that the program has existed, Traylor said he looks forward to joining the 25 percent of them who have gone on to larger roles in the county on advisory boards and committees.
In his role as a principal, he plans to further continue on the legacy with his vision for the school to “be the best Catholic private school in Prince George’s County.”
Part of that is ensuring that the school can provide as much enriching programming as possible, both academic and extracurricular, such as the ongoing work on building a new science center which will focus on STEM and STEAM education. The hope is to keep these initiatives in mind while staying true to the Catholic identity of the school.
“We want to be the thought leaders in education so we’re going to be working diligently to be sure that we can provide ourselves with the resources and knowledge to continue to remain rigorous and relevant and to be sure that we’re providing the best education for the students that walk through our halls and enter our doors.”
Honored to be named and selected, through his hard work in and out of the school environment Traylor recognizes that there is nothing a person cannot achieve through hard work and wants to be an example of this to others.
“What I want people to know that if you continue to work hard and you continue to be a person of integrity, always strive to be hopeful, helpful and hospitable, to be authentic trust and keep God at the forefront of all that you do, there isn’t anything you will not be able to achieve and accomplish. I believe that if you work hard, your work will speak for itself.”
All of this year’s honorees will be recognized during the annual Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund Forty Under 40 awards ceremony in May.