Chapel Hill's Kelly up for state's top principal award

Chapel Hill High Principal Sean Kelly is a finalist for the state principal of the year award.

Chapel Hill High Principal Sean Kelly has made the finalist list for the principal of the year award.

The Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) announced its six finalists for the top leadership award on Tuesday.

Also in contention for the state-wide award is Julia Daniely of Westside Pre-Engineering Magnet High in Bibb County, Stephanie Johnson of Maynard Jackson High in Atlanta, Susan Opferman of Webb Bridge Middle in Fulton County, Gene Starr of Appling County High, and Susan Zinkil of Teasley Middle in Cherokee County.

“It is a high honor to have Chapel Hill High School Principal Dr. Sean Kelly named as a finalist for Georgia High School Principal of the Year by his professional colleagues in the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP),” Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz said.

The six finalists were chosen from a large pool of applicants, according to the GASSP.

According to the GASSP news release, the Principal of the Year program recognizes principals that excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service.

“Dr. Kelly’s leadership skills are well known in his school community and our district,” Pritz said. "He is very focused and driven to improve achievement for all students in his school. He certainly embodies the highest professional qualities of a school administrator.”

Kelly and the other finalists will go through an interview process in Athens to determine the winner. If chosen, Kelly would represent the state in the competition for National Principal of the Year.

A native of Albany, and graduate of Dougherty County High, Kelly has taught in the county since 1993, starting at Turner Middle School. He has also held teaching, coaching and administrative positions at Lithia Springs and Douglas County high schools.

Prior to coming to Chapel Hill in 2008, Kelly was principal at Haralson County High in Tallapoosa for one year.

"I am extremely humbled for being nominated for this recognition,” Kelly said. "Just being nominated is an honor much less a finalist. I must say that that my nomination is a reflection of the students and staff of CHHS. They are truly the reason our school is successful as it is. I am very fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to work each day with a student body and school staff that work very hard each and every day. Being selected as a finalist for the GASSP Principal of the year is a result of those who I attend school with. I am very proud to represent the DCSS in this manner and look forward to participating in the remainder of the process.”

Chapel Hill High Student Government Association President Emily Austin said Kelly is well-deserving of the award.

“I think the one thing that comes to mind about Dr. Kelly is that he holds high expectations for the students and faculty at Chapel Hill High,” Austin said. “He pushes us to work hard in both academics and athletics at the school. He wants us to succeed. He has been very supportive of my ideals and we have been able to get some things done that haven’t happened at Chapel Hill in a long time.”