North Smyrna Elementary School Principal Kelly Holt was honored as Administrator of the Year by the Delaware Association of Education Office Professionals.

North Smyrna Elementary Principal Kelly Holt was honored as the Delaware Association of Education Office Professionals Administrator of the Year at the DAEOP fall meeting Oct. 12 at the Felton Fire Hall.

The mission of the DAEOP is to provide professional growth opportunities and leadership in education by improving the quality of service to the students, school and community.

DAEOP President Teresa Craft said Holt was selected based on the DAEOP Award Committee’s scores from all the nominees. To be nominated, a candidate must be currently employed as an educational administrator, must have been employed as an administrator for at least five years, and must be a member of the national educational association which represents his/her professional occupation.

Holt was nominated by Joan Waters and Donella Berrymann who said she supports her administrative assistants and staff 100 percent in everything they do, and she encourages her office professionals to participate in DAEOP professional development, because she knows how important it is to continue to gain knowledge.

“She exemplifies the definition of a leader in every sense of the word,” said Waters.

“Other administrators spoke to her professionalism, compassion, knowledge, and resourcefulness,” said Craft. “She was listed as a true leader with concern for all aspects of her school and that her students are the force that guides her passion for the educational process, her staff is the support to her vision, and the school community is where she delivers her mission.”

Smyrna Superintendent Patrik Williams described Holt as “a tireless advocate for children, a compassionate voice for those with special needs, a genuine and dedicated leader and above all, a kind and giving person” who exemplifies the Smyrna School District Community Core Values of compassion, integrity, responsibility, respect and perseverance.

“I was very surprised to receive this honor,” said Holt who is in her eighth year as principal at North Smyrna Elementary. “I was flattered to have been nominated by my staff, but to be selected for this state level award is a true honor.”

In their nomination, Waters and Berrymann said Holt’s primary concern is for the children and she will do anything to help students succeed in and out of school.

"She encourages staff collaboration on many levels using creative scheduling to allow staff to interact in various ways such as peer observations, vertical teaming and professional book clubs,” they said. “Mrs. Holt is visible and present for teachers, students, and parents. Her creativity and dedication to the students at North have led to unique opportunities for her students and staff. " -

The principal is known for her motto, “We make decisions based on what is best for students.” In their nomination, Waters and Berryman said, “She goes the extra mile to ensure we do this.”

Holt returned the compliments to the North Smyrna Elementary staff, saying she appreciates everything they do.

“I enjoy working with an amazing team of people who work hard to do great things for students,” she said.