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Terrel H. Bell Award

Sophia AcevedoCalder Road Elementary SchoolDickinson, TX Sophia Acevedo is described as a forward-thinker, clear communicator, capacity builder, and promoter of hope and resiliency. As the first principal of Calder Road Elementary School, she has led the school to become an exemplary achievement gap closing school since 2010. Calder Road is a Title I elementary school serving a diverse student population in Read More

Sonia Anna FloresDr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College AcademyGilroy, CA As a principal, Sonia Flores wants to ensure students and staff discover and reach “their highest personal and academic potential by becoming responsible citizens within their community.” She has a clear vision to support students in achieving their maximum potential by attaining the skills, both personal and academic, to be successful beyond college and career. Read More

Mary J. AndersonJacob C. Fruchthendler Elementary SchoolTucson, AZ Principal Mary Anderson believes that the most important role she plays as a leader is “setting the vision and establishing the expectations.” She focuses all decisions on what is best for the entire school community, sets and instills high expectations, and communicates a collective vision. Principal Anderson started on her path toward educational leadership over Read More

Mardele Simmons EarlyLake Forest Elementary Charter SchoolNew Orleans, LA “Our children are not at-risk, they are at-promise.” That is Mardele Early’s reminder about what is possible when you genuinely believe in the promise that young people hold and that educators can unlock. This reminder has formed the bedrock of Ms. Early’s career as an educator for the last 46 years. Mardele Simmons Early, a Read More

John Robert GibbonsWeston Middle SchoolWeston, MA Principal John Gibbons understands what makes an outstanding middle school experience for students, staff, and families. He has worked at the middle school level for over 36 years in a variety of roles, beginning his career in California before moving back to Massachusetts to be closer to family. For nine years, he was a teacher, Read More

Elisa BrownPS 249 – The Caton SchoolBrooklyn, NY Elisa Brown believes that children deserve an education that will help them graduate from college, become leaders in their community, and enjoy the benefits of personal freedom and good citizenship. To accomplish that goal, she, and the PS 249 – The Caton School staff insist that all students meet and exceed grade level standards, become Read More

Christy FloresMaude B. Davis Elementary SchoolCosta Mesa, CA Principal Christy Flores was inspired by her grandfather who was the principal of the only middle school in a small town. She remembers the strong connection he had with the community and how important “building trust, developing relationships, and demonstrating a genuine care and concern for each individual person” was to him. With this memory Read More

Angela Marie SilvaggioMesquite Elementary SchoolMesquite, NM During her seven years as principal, Angela Silvaggio has played a vital role in transforming Mesquite Elementary School into a high-performing school that is closing the achievement gap. Mesquite Elementary School is a low-performing Title I school in a rural New Mexico community where the median income is less than $21,000. One hundred percent of Read More

2020 Terrel H. Bell Awardees Honored for Outstanding School Leadership U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the 2020 recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. Nine principals from the 2020 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools are joined this year by a special Lifetime Leadership awardee. They will be honored during the National Blue Ribbon Schools virtual awards ceremony on Read More

Christina Small HI Bell Described as a dedicated, compassionate, and hardworking educator, Christina Small believes an effective leader is a model for teachers, staff, and students. After nearly 50 years as an educator, she believes her ability to be an enthusiastic, continuous learner and to listen with care and empathy are the keys to impacting all groups in a Read More