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Simon Youth Foundation names Peabody Learning Academy director as Administrator of the Year

Posted by Ryan Mooney  October 25, 2012 01:40 PM

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Photo courtesy of Regan Communications

Seith Bedard receives $1,000 from the Simon Youth Foundation for the Peabody Learning Academy. From left to right: Julie Carriere (SYF education services coordinator), Dr. J. Michael Durnil (SYF president and CEO), Della Lefevers (SYF administrator of services/education) and Seith Bedard (director of the Peabody Learning Academy).

The Simon Youth Foundation, a Simon Property Group national charity that supports 23 alternative learning academies in 13 states, has named Seith Bedard, director of the Peabody Learning Academy, as its 2012 Administrator of the Year.

The award is presented annually to an administrator "who has demonstrated excellence in leading an academy towards overall success," according to a statement from SYF.

Bedard, a graduate of UMass-Boston who earned his master's degree in Special Education from American International College, runs the school with two other instructors who keep in close contact with public school officials in Peabody to help students earn real diplomas, instead of a GED.

Students complete the public school curriculum at their own pace using a computer-based learning program at the school's classroom in the Northshore Mall. SYF academies are commonly located in Simon Malls such as the Northshore.

This past spring, the academy held its second commencement celebration, graduating 22 at-risk who students, who otherwise might have dropped out of high school.

"Often, I am the only role model or parental figure in my students' lives. Therefore, it's imperative that I show my dedication to their success," Bedard said in a statement. "Helping these students and providing them with guidance, not just in school, but in life, has really empowered them to make better choices and contribute to society in a positive way."

Bedard also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Shore chapter of the American Red Cross, and has worked with the district to create the Peabody Alternative Night School. He also works extensively with the Workforce Investment Board of the North Shore.

"We are proud to add Seith Bedard to our list of distinguished educators," Dr. J. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of SYF, said in a statement. "He ignites hope to drive student success and has helped to continue positioning the Simon Youth Foundation as a national leader in non-traditional education and student retention."

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.

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