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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Celebrates 286 Schools as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Seven principals honored with Terrel H. Bell Awards for outstanding leadership

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Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today honors 286 schools as the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools at an awards luncheon at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The award honors public and private schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement. The schools – 236 public and 50 private—are among nearly 7,500 schools that have received the coveted award over the past 31 years.

"Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," said Secretary Duncan. "National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education."

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

Additionally, seven principals from the 2013 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools will be recognized with the Terrel H. Bell Award for their outstanding work and the vital role they play in guiding their students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances. Named for the second secretary of education, Terrel H. Bell, the award recognizes school leaders committed to fostering successful teaching and learning at their schools, school leaders committed to education as a powerful and liberating force in people’s lives and who do “whatever it takes” to help their students meet high standards.

The Terrel H. Bell Awards will be presented to the following principals by the U.S. Department of Education, together with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the Association for Middle Level Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals:

  • Hattie Alexander, W.H. Council Traditional School, Mobile, Ala.
  • Jennifer Nauman, Richard A. Shields Elementary School, Lewes, Del.
  • Jared Jenks, Sugar-Salem High School, Sugar-Salem, Idaho.
  • Kevin Suther, Chapman High School, Chapman, Kan.
  • Sheila Harrity, Worchester Technical High School, Worchester, Mass.
  • Kathleen Decker, Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Vicki Harmdierks, Gertie Bell Rogers Elementary School, Mitchell, S.D.

The Bell Award is part of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Principals are nominated by their school communities during the final stages of the National Blue Ribbon Schools application process.

In addition, the Department would like give a special thanks to The History Channel and Discovery Education for their continued support of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

A list of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.