Honors today in Richmond for the principal of Perrymont Elementary School. Governor McAuliffe honored Karen Nelson for significantly improving SOL scores at the school and narrowing the achievement gap. She was among several people statewide receiving the first-ever Governor’s Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Education.

(Continue reading for the full governor’s office news release.)

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced the first recipients of the Governor’s Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education. This new initiative recognizes outstanding educators and leaders, schools, divisions, and community partners across five categories: closing the achievement gap, community partnerships and collaboration, innovation in education, preparing students for the new Virginia economy; and supporting school readiness. Out of more than 120 nominations, 13 were selected for recognition and honored at the Executive Mansion last night.

“Over the last four years, my administration has worked hard to reduce the achievement gap, improve accountability, and expand opportunities for career exposure and experiential learning in our public schools. These individuals, schools, divisions and partners are at the forefront of that effort, and I applaud their willingness to think outside the box and boldly try new things,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Excellent education is the key to unlocking the potential in our children, our commonwealth, and the new Virginia economy.”

“Every day, Virginia’s education professionals make incredible contributions to our communities and students,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “This new award is one small way we can recognize their commitment to providing their students with everything they need to succeed in school and in life.”

The award categories and recipients are as follows:

Closing the Achievement Gap

Community Partnerships and Collaboration

Innovation in Education

Preparing Students for the New Virginia Economy

Supporting School Readiness

Sharon Shuttle, Early Learning Services Coordinator, and Anita Warner, Family and Diversity Specialist, have worked to provide early learning opportunities for at-risk three- and four-year-olds in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.