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The school year is not half over, but Piedmont Elementary School has accumulated almost as many accolades as trick-or-treaters collect pieces of candy.
No one is prouder than Principal Brigett Stewart, unless school Superintendent Mike Hayes.
Recently, both learned that Piedmont Elementary had been named a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Last school year, we were nominated by the state superintendent and had to complete the application within eight weeks. I brought together a team of teachers to work with me, and we waited months and months to hear the results.”
As part of the National Blue Ribbon Program, each year a small group of principals is selected to receive the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. Stewart learned she had been named as one of nine principals in the nation to receive the award this year after receiving a phone call from the United States Department of Education. She will speak on a panel along with the other recipients at the National Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony.
This week, Stewart and two other staff members, Revonda Pruitt, the school’s assistant principal, and Debra Ledbetter, the school counselor, are leaving to accept the National Blue Ribbon award.
Only a month ago, Stewart went to Washington, D.C., where she accepted the National Distinguished Principal award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), an award she learned about in February.
“It has been a whirlwind,” Stewart said. “All of these once-in-a-lifetime events are happening within a month of each other,” Stewart said. “The school and community have been so supportive of everything.”
Stewart credits the hard work of the teachers and staff for the recent awards, but Hayes said Stewart does deserve credit.
“I’m not surprised at the recognition,” he said. “When we hired Brigett, we knew we were getting a quality educator. She has been everything we hoped for, and everything she does is based off relationships with the students, faculty, staff and parents. Relationships are her number one characteristic that has made her as successful as she is.”
Hayes agreed that the recent awards require a team effort.
“One good thing in Piedmont is that it is always working toward the common goal of good education for students and having success along the way. It is a wonderful community that values the school system. We have good folks, and our students are willing to do what it takes to achieve as much as it can.”