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G.B. Rogers principal earns national award

Vicki Harmdierks, principal of Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School in Mitchell, learned Thursday she will be presented with the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Vicki HarmdierksHarmdierks, a Wessington Springs resident, is one of seven principals nationwide to receive the award. She is in her seventh year with the Mitchell School District. 

The presentation will take place at the National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony. It will be given by the U.S. Department of Education, together with the National Association of Elementary Schools Principals, the Association of Middle-Level Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in memory of former Secretary of Education Terrell H. Bell.

Harmdierks was nominated partly when Gertie Belle Rogers was designated with a Blue Ribbon Award. The school has a performance level in the top 5 percent of schools in the state, scoring in the 91st percentile in reading and 92nd percentile in math testing. Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves also issued a nomination letter for Harmdierks for the award.

“This is very exciting,” Graves said. “It’s definitely an outstanding recognition for Vicki and makes the entire Mitchell School District very proud.”

The Terrel H. Bell Award recognizes outstanding school leaders and the role they play in guiding students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances. Principals nominated for this award are school leaders committed to fostering successful teaching and learning at their schools and who do “whatever it takes” to help their students meet high standards, according to a release by the U.S. Department of Education. It says they are committed to education as a powerful and liberating force in people’s lives.