Sevier principal Holly Flora wins a major national award

FOCUSED ON STUDENTS. Sevier principal Holly Flora speaks to students during breakfast.
Flora recently won an award from the

Brianna Galloway

FOCUSED ON STUDENTS. Sevier principal Holly Flora speaks to students during breakfast. Flora recently won an award from the "National Association of Elementary School Principals".

Brianna Galloway, Opinion Editor

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Holly Flora, the principal of John Sevier Middle School, recently won a major award for her service as a school principal.

The award Flora earned is called the “National Distinguished Principal Award for the State of Tennessee”. One principal from each state in the United States is chosen as a winner. The award is presented by the “National Association of Elementary School Principals”. This professional association serves principals from the grades of kindergarten to eighth grade.

Principals play an important role in the lives of their students, and their job is not always easy. They have to be sure the school they work in is a good environment for their students. According to the “National Association of Elementary School Principals,” Flora has done this job well.

“I was very humbled and grateful,” Flora said. “I work in a school with hard working teachers. I work in a system where I have been surrounded by colleagues who are the best of the best and I learn from them every day. KCS provides the highest quality professional development available and supports me as principal. Therefore, I know that this award represents all of the people with whom I have the privilege of working.”

Flora was surprised to win the award. She believes she was so focused on everyone’s work that she didn’t think about any awards. She spends most of her time thinking about what she can do to make Sevier Middle a better place.

Winning the award hasn’t been much of a goal for Flora. She was nominated by a fellow colleague, and doesn’t even know who it was. She filled out the application packet and accepted the nomination, because she was chosen as a nominee by a thoughtful colleague.

“Receiving the award never really crossed my mind,” she said.

Flora wasn’t nervous about winning the award, because she believes that there were many qualified and amazing principals that also deserved to win.

“It has been very meaningful to me to be recognized because it has reminded me of all wonderful people with whom I have worked in Kingsport and all the opportunities that I have had to grow and learn to get to this point in my career,” Flora said. “I consider it a privilege to be the principal of Sevier and to be recognized for the work all of us do at Sevier each day and that makes me very proud to be a part of the Sevier family. This award is not about me. It represents that work that all of us do each day – administration, teachers, staff, students and families.”

Flora has some advice for principals whom wish to win the award.

“My advice to principals is to work relentlessly to support students and put their needs first,” she said. “When principals focus on students and work collaboratively with teachers to do the same and to create the best environment possible for students, the rest takes care of itself. The REAL reward is knowing that we play a significant part in helping students be the best people they can be and affect the world in a positive way.”

Winning the award has taught Flora much about education.

“When I was in Washington DC with principals from every state, I spent lots of time talking with them about their schools,” she said. “Many times, the news media focuses on what is wrong in our country. My time celebrating with the ‘National Distinguished’ principals in other states was inspiring.”

Flora believes it is inspiring that, across our country, there are principals and teachers who are committed to making the world a more positive place and who have hope for students in their schools.
“Great things are happening in America’s public schools and I am proud to now have 49 new principal friends to learn from and from whom to be inspired,” Flora said.

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