Lillian Brinkley Honored With Distinguished Service Award

Conference News Online
March 2012

Lillian M. Brinkley has been a National Distinguished Principal and an Outstanding Educator of the Year. Once, the city of Norfolk, Virginia designated February 14th as Lillian Brinkley Day.

And now, Brinkley is the recipient of another accolade—she is NAESP’s Distinguished Service Award honoree.

“It is with great admiration and appreciation that we present you with our highest honor, the NAESP Distinguished Service Award, for your unwavering dedication and service to our nation’s schools, principals, and children,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly at the Closing Keynote, when Brinkley was called to the stage to receive the award. This year marks Brinkley’s 45th NAESP National Conference.

Brinkley, a native of Suffolk, Virginia, has devoted her life to education, serving as a teacher, adult education specialist, and elementary principal in the Norfolk Public Schools system for 40 years. She was hand-picked to lead the state’s first and only model elementary school, Willard Model School, which served as an exemplar for educators across the nation. Called “the epitome of a turnaround principal,” Brinkley led Willard Model School to higher achievement results than any school in her district. She retired in 1999.

Outside the classroom, Brinkley has been active in dozens of community, civic, and education organizations. She served as president of both the Norfolk and the Virginia Associations of Elementary School Principals, going on to lead NAESP as president from 1991 to 1992. Since her retirement in 1999, Brinkley has continued to strengthen the principalship by acting as a trainer with the NAESP National Mentoring Program.

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