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Award-Winning Educator, Kelly Sheridan

Published online: Apr 11, 2024 Articles, Education And Arts
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Each year, the Milken Educator Awards recognizes educators nationwide who have proven to be exceptional. This year, one of the award winning educators is none other than the remarkable Kelly Sheridan, Assistant Principal and Dean of Students of Compass Academy.

The Milken Educator Awards was founded in 1987 by Lowell Milken with the goal to acknowledge and reward elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists who have represented excellence in education. In 2003, Idaho joined the program. Since then, 20 Idaho educators have been recognized. 

Recipients are recognized with a financial prize—a whopping $25,000. When Lowell Milken founded the Milken Educator Awards, he set out to bring more awareness to what he referred to as “the most important job in our nation.”

The qualities that the foundation looks for are the dedication and commitment to success within our schools—qualities that Kelly not only possesses, but surpasses. 

As Assistant Principal and Dean of Students, Kelly’s main goal is setting her students up for success and during her time spent in this role, she has increased the school’s graduation rate, exceeding that of the district and state. 

“One of my goals along with School District 91’s goals is to increase the graduation rate,” Kelly said. “As the person who does graduation intervention, it's really important to me to get a plan for every student to graduate with the credits and the skills that they need to be successful in the future.”

Before her current role, Kelly was an art teacher at Compass for 5 years—a passion she has carried since she was young. “My mom was a teacher growing up and I’d always considered teaching. I had a big passion for learning in high school and I was really invested,” Kelly said. “I knew I wanted to study art and I had an art teacher who made a huge impact on me. She really encouraged my growth as an artist but also as a practitioner and teacher of art.”

In 2015, Kelly earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with a minor in art education from James Madison University and in 2021, earned a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of Idaho. “I studied art and art education and just found my niche in teaching and then in becoming an administrator,” Kelly said. 

In her short years as an administrator, Kelly has made great impact and serves as an exceptional role model to all those around her. “One of my core values is to be out in the building as much as possible,” Kelly said. “I usually start the day with walking around the halls, saying hi to students and walking through our teacher collaboration area called the Lion’s Den.”

One quality she is applauded for is her commitment not only to her students, but to the teachers and families of the students. “As the assistant principal, it's exciting because I get to support teachers in their professional growth and their needs in the school and I also work a ton with parents,” Kelly said. “Whether it’s intervention meetings or even graduation progress or future planning meetings. It's still a strong student focus, but it's much broader.” 

Kelly’s 8 years in education have undoubtedly changed the lives of many students, their families and teachers. Her unwavering kindness and dedication to education sets her apart and is deservingly recognized for her efforts—but the numbers aren’t what Kelly is most proud of. The community she has built around her is. 

“I'm most proud of having positive relationships with the people that I work with. That's more important to me than data outcomes,” Kelly said. “Data outcomes are really important in education too, but I'm really proud of having a trusting relationship with students and staff. And I work really hard at being a person that they enjoy talking to and trust.”


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