Celeste King Selected as 2019 Shirley Award Recipient

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The Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP) is pleased to announce that Celeste King, principal of South Lake Elementary School, is the 2019 recipient of the Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision. This prestigious award, given by the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, is presented annually to an administrator or supervisor who exemplifies outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the areas of purposeful leadership, instructional or system-wide leadership, human resources development, resource management, interpersonal skills, professional involvement and community and stakeholder involvement.

For nearly 45 years, King has devoted her life to education. She began her career teaching grades 5 through 8 and served as a reading specialist and curriculum specialist before becoming an administrator in 2006. After six years as an assistant principal she became principal of South Lake Elementary School where she has been for the past eight years.

King is known by her colleagues as a passionate advocate for students. She knows no barriers and will not accept “no” for an answer when it comes to her students, staff and the community. She is often an early adopter of programs that will support student learning. A staff member noted that she is “a passionate, vision-driven, student centered instructional leader who has created a community school culture and serves the South Lake community with the utmost professionalism.”

King is described by colleagues as having a personality that is magnetic, spirited, caring, direct, respectful and honest. When she sees a problem, she confronts it head on, digs deeply to identify the root causes and uses of all her available resources to find solutions. Her open door always has a steady stream of staff and students waiting to spend a little time together.

Parents shared that King empowers those around her to reach individual goals and success, while ensuring that these accomplishments better the community as a whole. King is not interested in praise or recognition, only results. Students and families know they are safe because King and the staff at South Lake will do anything they can to help.

A community leader described King as an effective advocate for communities that have been marginalized by bias, discrimination and poverty. She collaborates with organizations, community-based groups and religious institutions to promote effective educational strategies, resources and critical thinking in a collaborative effort.

King has forged partnerships with a multitude of organizations including the local police department and faith-based organizations to bring resources to the children and their families—backpacks with supplies for every student at the beginning of the school year, monthly Family Market Days to combat their families’ immediate needs for food with over 100 individuals lining up for help, mentoring programs, afterschool art and photography classes and much more.

King will be among the honorees at the annual Champions for Children Celebration on April 25, 2019. She will also be honored by the MCAAP membership at the spring meeting in May 2019.