Elk Grove High principal named finalist for national award

  • Elk Grove High School Principal Paul Kelly

    Elk Grove High School Principal Paul Kelly

Updated 7/23/2018 5:13 PM

Elk Grove High School Principal Paul Kelly, already named Illinois High School Principal of the Year in January, was announced Monday as a finalist for the national honor.

Kelly and principals from South Carolina and Montana are the three finalists for National Principal of the Year, which will be announced in October by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.


In the organization's announcement, Kelly was applauded for creating a positive school culture based on his mantra of "challenge, support, and patience." The group noted that while the school's poverty rate tripled, participation in Advanced Placement courses quadrupled, with more than half the Class of 2017 receiving passing scores on AP exams.

Kelly beat out 20 others for the state-level honor, given by the Illinois Principals Association. The national award program covers winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Kelly's boss, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Superintendent David Schuler, was named National Superintendent of the Year in February by the School Superintendents Association.

Before Elk Grove, Kelly spent six years as division head for social science/world languages at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. He also was a teacher leadership coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago for two years, and a social studies teacher for five years at Hinsdale South and four years at Carl Sandburg high schools.

Kelly and the two other finalists will be recognized at the 2018 NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, D.C. Sept. 23-26, which will include awards, professional development activities and meetings with members of Congress.

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