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November 4 -5, 2021
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Congratulations 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Ceremony Information

Ceremony 2013During this celebratory event, awardees will hear from several guest speakers, engage in topical discussions with peers, receive congratulatory remarks, hear from this year’s Bell Awardees, and join their peers in the presentation of awards.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Aba Kumi, will welcome and congratulate awardees.

Click here for special guests and speakers and the preliminary agenda.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the 2021 recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

Eight principals from the 2021 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored during the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony on Thursday, November 4, 2021. Read about each awardee below.

2021 Terrel H. Bell Awardees


Angela Silvaggio Mesquite Elementary School

Angela Marie

Mesquite Elementary School
Mesquite, NM


Christy Flores Maude Davis

Christy Flores
Maude B. Davis Elementary School
Costa Mesa, CA


Elisa Brown PS 249 Caton

Elisa Brown
PS 249 –
The Caton School
Brooklyn, NY


John Gibbons Weston

John Robert Gibbons
Weston Middle School
Weston, MA


Mardele Early Lake Forest

Simmons Early

Lake Forest Elementary Charter School
New Orleans, LA

Mary Anderson Fruchthendler

Mary J. Anderson
Jacob C. Fruchthendler Elementary School
Tucson, AZ

Sonia Flores TJ Owens

Sonia Anna Flores
Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy
Gilroy, CA

Acevedo Calder Road Elementary School

Sophia Acevedo
Calder Road Elementary School
Dickinson, TX


Featured Media

U.S. Department of Education Announces
2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona will make the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip, where he will visit an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at



2020 NBRS – Whitney M. Young Magnet High School – Chicago, IL


School and Leadership Awardees

Filter the awardee database by year, state, school type, or grade level to find recognized schools, applications, and contact info.


Learn about the Terrel H. Bell school leadership awardees.


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