ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools has revealed the 2021 Principal of the Year is Oak Ridge High School Principal Jennifer Bellinger.
The innovative principal raised the school from a “D” to a “B” in two years. Bellinger has been an educator for 23 years and is in her fifth year at Oak Ridge.
“You don’t go into education, or I didn’t go into education, to say, ‘one day I want to be Principal of the Year.’ You just go in because you want to help kids and it is super exciting,” she said.
Bellinger says the school’s success is a group effort involving staff and students willing to follow her lead.
“I had a team of people who were willing to follow me and who were willing to assist in whatever needs to be done,” Bellinger said. “A lot of long hours, early mornings, weekends, because that’s what it took to be able to reach a goal, each person on the team knowing their role. Because what you do has an impact on the school so our conversations with students are ‘You’re responsible and you have to help us reach our goal’ and students are willing to do that because they see the impact when we set a goal and reach the goal we’ve set,” she said.
Bellinger says the next goal is making Oak Ridge an “A” school.