Jason Lawson, principal of Lake Hills Elementary School in Spring Lake, is one of only 11 people nationwide to receive the Department of Education's Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

The award is part of the National Blue Ribbon Schools program and is named after the second U. S. Secretary of Education. It recognizes school leaders who are "committed to education and improving outcomes for all students."

The National Blue Ribbons Schools program shares Lawson's three guiding principles and goals as related to monthly staff meetings with each grade level team, and reading and math specialists:

  1. Every child has the capacity for success. The school must meet students where they are and take them further than anyone expected.
  2. We are at our best when we work together. No one person has the best approach in every situation. The Professional Learning Communities model encouraged creativity, innovation, and adaptation to issues that arose.
  3. The principal’s role is to lead by example, work side by side with teachers, and maintain a positive, forward-oriented focus.

The 11 winners will be honored during the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Washington, D.C.