Principals of the Year

Our principals are the heart of every school and community. 

For 2020-2021, the Principal of the Year selection process began with an opportunity for community members to nominate school leaders. Nominations were considered by the Principal of the Year selection committee led by administrators from the Office of Organizational Effectiveness. This was the first year in which both a middle and a high school Principal of the Year were chosen.

2020-2021 Principals of the Year

Kelly O’Connell, Mars Estates Elementary SchoolKelly O’Connell
Mars Estates Elementary School
Rochelle Archelus
Woodlawn Middle School
Brian Powell, Kenwood High SchoolBrian Powell
Kenwood High School

From June 8, 2020

Kelly O’Connell is in her fourth year as principal at Mars Estates Elementary and her 18th year with BCPS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in human resources school leadership from Towson University. She refers to students as #MarsStars, and that social media hashtag is regularly used to celebrate school and community achievements.

“This award is not just about me, it’s a reflection for everyone at Mars Estates Elementary,” O’Connell said. “It’s about teachers, students, and families and doing what is right for all kids.”

Rochelle Archelus is in her sixth year as the principal at Woodlawn Middle and her 23rd year working for BCPS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in human resources development from Towson University. She credited her staff’s commitment and excellence for the honor. She also thanked her mother, Rachel Glover-Archelus, who was a public educator for 40 years in Newark, N.J.

“If I can be half the educator that my mother was, then I’ve done great,” Archelus said. “She is my inspiration.”

Brian Powell is in his fourth year as the principal at Kenwood High and his 12th year working for BCPS. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education from Salisbury University. For the continuity of education BCPS has used during the coronavirus, Powell was one of the first BCPS principals to start posting school announcement videos online, often with his two young daughters taking part.

“This is something we can celebrate with the entire team,” Powell said. “As far as I’m concerned, we are school of the year. It’s not just about me.”

Former Principals of the Year

Charlene Behnke, Honeygo Elementary School
Monica Sample, Overlea High School

Kandice Taylor, Deer Park Middle Magnet School
Cathy Thomas, Cromwell Valley Elementary Magnet School

Cheryl Brooks, Berkshire Elementary School
Aubrey Brown, Randallstown High School

Missy Fanshaw, Rodgers Forge Elementary School
Sandra Reid, Pikesville High School and Maryland's 2018 High School Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Mullenax, Halstead Academy

Pat Goldys, Norwood Elementary School

Karen Harris, Fort Garrison Elementary School