Education Secretary King Announces Recipients of the 2016 Terrel H. Bell Awards for Outstanding School Leadership

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Education Secretary King Announces Recipients of the 2016 Terrel H. Bell Awards for Outstanding School Leadership

October 20, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King today announced the 2016 recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. The eight principals from the 2016 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored with the Terrel H. Bell Award at an awards ceremony on Monday, Nov. 7th at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

"The Bell Award recognizes principals who are transformational leaders. They inspire greatness in their students, in their teachers, and in their communities," King said. "Winning a Bell Award is a small acknowledgment of the tireless work these principals have done in their effort to create positive school cultures where teachers are empowered and all students, regardless of background, can and do succeed."

Named for the second U.S. Secretary of Education, the award honors school leaders who are committed to education as a powerful and liberating force in people's lives. They are principals who foster successful teaching and learning and help their students and teachers meet high standards. 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.

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 present the Terrel H. Bell Awards to principals of National Blue Ribbon Schools for their outstanding work and the vital role they play in guiding their students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances.

The 2016 recipients are:

  • Judy Armstrong, St. Thomas More Catholic School, Baton Rouge, La. Three weeks into her term as principal, Armstrong opened St. Thomas More's doors to 440 students who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, an unanticipated population shift that required the school to quickly grapple with new ways to reach students.
  • Berta Fogerson, Margaret Talkington School for Young Women Leaders, Lubbock, Texas. Fogerson's determination to hold students, staff, and herself to the highest standards has resulted in a 100% graduation rate and 100% of Talkington students accepted into four-year colleges.
  • Pamela Hogue, Weiner Elementary School, Weiner, Ark. Guided by a belief that a school's climate and culture affect every aspect of student life, Hogue expanded the school's gifted and talented program to include the entire school, raising the academic performance of all students.
  • Robbie Holder, L. Mendel Rivers Elementary School, Altus, Okla. Despite Rivers' exceptionally high student mobility rate, the rigorous expectations and student supports instituted by Holder have made it one of the top performing schools in the state.
  • Stephen D. Marquis, Sea Road School, Kennebunk, Maine. Marquis's own academic struggles as a child provide him with a sense of obligation to find innovative ways to inspire and challenge students and to advocate for their families.
  • Sheila Sydnor, Penn Alexander School, Philadelphia, Pa. Sydnor's leadership provided the foundation of Penn Alexander School from the beginning, and it is now recognized as the highest performing K-8 school in the district despite 100% of students eligible for free/reduced price meals.
  • Tarkan Topcuoglu, Central Jersey College Prep Charter School, Somerset, N.J. Under Topcuoglu's leadership, Central Jersey College Prep went from a school where fewer than 50% of students reached proficiency in ELA to a school with a 100% graduation rate.

A special Lifetime of Leadership award will be given to:

  • Cynthia Kalogeropoulos, Grove Avenue Elementary School, Barrington, Ill. Under her 31 years of leadership, Grove Avenue Elementary has won three National Blue Ribbon School awards.

Brief summaries of each recipient's work are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.