ELBERTA, Ala. (WALA) - Elberta Elementary Principal Hope Zeanah will receive the 2013 National Distinguished Principals Award from the U.S. Secretary of Education on Friday, October 25 in Washington D.C.
"As educators, we are not accustomed to being celebrated like this," said Zeanah of the award. "It's an honor that I share with every principal in Baldwin County, because I believe that they are all distinguished principals."
Zeanah is one of 61 other middle and elementary school principals around the country to receive the recognition.
Students and teachers at Elberta Elementary said Zeanah is more than worthy of the award, going above and beyond her job requirements every day.
"She's a great leader. She doesn't ask anything of us that she doesn't do herself," said Kathy Moore, who was named the school's Teacher of the Year in 2013. "She works with us on everything, and more than everything else, she's fair."
"She's not just a principal, she's nice to everyone that's here," said student Caden Ford. "And she's a really nice principal to have here."
With one glance at the school's hallways, it's easy to see the dedication and passion that's put in to inspiring young minds.
Artwork covers nearly every piece of empty wall space.
Even the bathrooms are elaborately decorated to instill creativity and excitement in the students.
Teachers said Zeanah has also established new programs to help students move forward.
"We went through training this summer [for] the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and we are incorporating that in our school this year," explained teacher Hope Taylor. "And it really has made a huge difference in our beginning of the school routine and everything has run so smoothly since we have started doing that."
Zeanah said she wouldn't be in Washington Thursday if it weren't for the help of her loyal staff.
"None of this would have taken place without the people that are in my school day to day," Zeanah said. "The teachers and staff, the parents and the students, Elberta Elementary is such a special place."
Zeanah was recognized as the 2013 Alabama Principal of the Year in March.
She has been an educator for 31 years.
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