Sunset Elementary in the Sunset District of San Francisco, Calif. seen May 15, 2013. (Mike Koozmin/2013 S.F. Examiner)

Sunset Elementary principal awarded by federal Education Department

The principal of an elementary school in San Francisco’s Sunset District is one of eight nationwide who are the 2017 recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership, U.S. Department of Education officials announced Wednesday.

Sophie Lee, the principal at Sunset Elementary School at 1920 41st Ave., will be honored at a Nov. 6 National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Sunset Elementary was named an “Exemplary High Performing School” among 342 National Blue Ribbon schools honored nationwide in 2017.

Lee previously received the Mayor’s Principal of the Year award for the elementary school level for the 2014-15 season and has been an educator for more than 40 years, school district officials said.

According to the National Blue Ribbon Schools program website, Lee assumed leadership at Sunset Elementary in 2002 and has “transformed an ‘average’ school into a high-performing, tech-savvy, multicultural, inclusive community.”

She was the only California principal among this year’s honorees of the Bell Award, named after the second U.S. Secretary of Education and meant to honor exemplary school leaders.

Principals are nominated by their school communities in the final stages of the application process to become a National Blue Ribbon school.

“It’s a privilege to honor this year’s Bell awardees and to recognize them for their achievement,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Through their work, these principals show that when effective leadership is coupled with high expectations, we can expect great results for all of our nation’s students.”

Four other Bay Area schools were National Blue Ribbon schools in 2017 — Albany Middle School and Amador Valley High School in Alameda County, George C. Payne Elementary School in Santa Clara County and Liberty Elementary School in Sonoma County.

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