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2020 Heart of the School Award Winner


Joe Manko

Liberty Elementary School

Note: Has subsequently retired

Principal Manko approaches his work leading Liberty Elementary as a CEO might - creating a foundation for self-directed student and staff success so he can focus on the ideas and planning that would have the highest impact. His leadership resonates with the school’s high-performing, experienced educators (featuring 18 model teachers); staff turnover at Liberty is very low. Principal Manko understands that experiences and resources outside school help students learn so students regularly take field trips – approximately 80-90 each year - to places around Baltimore and the state that bring life to what they learn in the classroom. And he encourages community engagement; last year, an average of 30 community volunteers came to the school every day to work with students and help teachers. Students at Liberty are thriving as a result of Principal Manko’s thoughtful leadership.



“He believes in making the lives better for students and their families and he will try his hardest to remove all barriers for our students to attend school and receive the support they need.” - Sara Krauss, teacher/school staff

“Joe Manko is one of the most genuine principals that I have met in my 18 years of providing programming to Baltimore City Schools.  He is a man of integrity and innovation.” – Andres Gonzalez, community partner

Be sure to check out Joe Manko's feature in Baltimore Magazine:

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