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Melanie H. Sigler
Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School
Clarke County School District
Athens, Georgia

Since becoming principal of Burney-Harris-Lyons (BHL) Middle School eight years ago, Melanie Sigler has created a warm, inviting culture with her relentless sense of commitment and her ability to empower others. At BHL, the student population is diverse, and the majority is considered socioeconomically disadvantaged. Because of this, Sigler works hard to understand the feelings and experiences of her students, knowing each one by name and spending as much time with them as she can. She ensures that all students have an equal opportunity to learn with programs such as Extended Learning Time and the one-to-one technology initiative which provides each student with a device to use at home. Sigler empowers her staff by recognizing and appreciating individual strengths; because of her, every BHL employee understands his/her role in student success. Parents are also given a say through the School Council, Parent Advisory Board, and PTO; they decide how to use the Title I funds, and their feedback drives the School Improvement Plan. Under Sigler's leadership, BHL was authorized as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program school. In 2014, it was named a Title I Highest Progress school and also received the SSTAGE Star Award for promising practices. Sigler holds a B.S. from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Special Education from Clemson University, and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University.