LAFAYETTE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — A Lafayette educator has been recognized for excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

The department announced Wednesday that Catherine Bricelj, principal of Myrtle Place Elementary, is a recipient of the Terrel H. Bell Award for outstanding school leadership for 2022.According to a release, Bricelj is one of nine school leaders from the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools cohort to receive this honor.

The Terrel H. Bell’s award is awarded to leaders who are committed to education and show up as a powerful and liberating force in people’s lives. This award is a part of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, and principals are nominated by their school communities during the program’s last phase.

Bricelj has contributed to the growth of Myrtle Place Elementary as she emphasizes strong relationships, building trust, and focusing on what is needed to support everyone at the school. Under her leadership, the school has grown from a school letter grade of C to an A.

Bricelj, along with eight other recipients of the award, will be honored on Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

“School leaders have the opportunity to transform their campus, and Principal Bricelj embraced her role,” State Superintendent Cade Brumley said. “She raised the bar for students and educators, then helped them achieve those higher expectations.”