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LCHS' Kelly named Idaho Vice Principal of the Year

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | April 10, 2024 1:06 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — Whatever he can do to make a positive impact on the lives of students, Lake City High School Assistant Principal Bryan Kelly is happy to do it.

"There’s value in everybody," Kelly said Monday. "No matter where they come from or what they like to do, they can be a successful part of society. To be a part of their story and to encourage them to find their passion is the key."

His advocacy for students is exactly why his coworker, Assistant Principal Brandy Johnson, nominated him to for the Idaho Association of School Administrators' Assistant Principal of the Year program.

Lake City announced April 2 that Kelly won the competition and has been named Idaho's 2024 Assistant Principal of the Year. 

"He has a sincere desire to serve everybody and a passion for the underserved," Johnson said. "He’s always the first to step up for kids that might not have economic advantages, who might come from broken homes. He maintains always what’s best for all kids, and when I say all, Bryan means all. Low end, high end, everybody deserves the same chances."

Johnson and Kelly are both Lake City grads. Kelly and Johnson's brother graduated in 1995 in Lake City's first graduating class.

"It was a great opportunity to come to a new school," Kelly said.

Kelly and Johnson are among four of five school administrators who graduated as Timberwolves.

"Lake City is a special place," Kelly said.

Kelly has worked for the Coeur d'Alene School District for 12 years, many of them at Lake City. He served as the principal of the CDA eSchool, an online school that was created in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. He then returned to Lake City in 2023 after the virtual school dissolved. He worked for the Post Falls School District prior to Lake City and worked for a school district in southern Idaho before coming up north.

His calling to help students was found long before he became an administrator.

"I was a coach and teacher for a lot of my career, then I had some mentors in front of me that pushed me into that direction to not just help and guide students in the classroom or on the court, but also to help teachers and fellow administrators make this place special," he said. "I also wanted to give everything that I had. I came into education because of people who gave to me and made me who I am. I wanted to do that for others and for the kids."

Kelly received the news of his award in January.

“(I felt) honored, super humbled," Kelly said. "There are a lot of people who put a lot of time in; I just come to work, love my job and do the best I can. The fact I was recognized for that was very humbling. What a great honor to represent not only Lake City, but the school district and the state of Idaho."

He spent April 3 through Saturday in Washington, D.C., as he represented Idaho on the national stage during the National Assistant Principal of the Year program, which took place during Assistant Principals Week. 

"They put us up in the Willard Hotel right next to the White House," Kelly said. "We got to tour the White House. It was unbelievable."

The National Association of Secondary School Principals named Courtney Walker, assistant principal of Carrollton High School in Carrollton, Ga., the 2024 National Assistant Principal of the Year.

In Lake City's announcement, it listed several reasons why Kelly was selected for the state honor, including his ability to: 

• Foster innovation and creativity as part of the learning process
• Empower students to assume leadership roles to promote learning and well-being
• Recognize, appreciate and serve the needs of a diverse school community
• Embed the needs of each student as a guiding value to inform organizational decision-making
• Promote equity so that each person is known and valued, and receives individualized, high quality education
• Shape a culture to foster well-being and safety so each student and adult learns and interacts productively
• Lead learning in a way that ensures each learner will succeed in a globally competitive society

“Mr. Kelly is very deserving of this recognition," Lake City Principal Deanne Clifford said in the announcement. "Bryan is one of those rare leaders who inspires students and adults to meet their full potential. He makes every decision based on his core value to do what is in the best interest of students.”

Superintendent Shon Hocker said the Coeur d’Alene School District is committed to providing the very best education possible for every one of its students.

“Bryan Kelly is one of those incredibly talented and dedicated leaders in our school community who helps make that happen," Hocker said in the news release.

Johnson said Kelly is truly a relationship guy.

"We joke about him being the mayor," she said. "Every time we go somewhere, he knows everybody. He gets community relationships, he has a great sense of humor, he just draws everybody in. People just gravitate to him. He’s really likable and shares a passion for education.

"I’m just really proud of him and honored to work alongside him," she said.

Lake City High School Assistant Principal Bryan Kelly is seen on the steps of the White House while in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Secondary School Principals program, which was held April 3 through Saturday. Kelly was named the 2024 State of Idaho Assistant Principal of the Year by the Idaho Association of School Administrators' board of directors.