For National Principals Month, we are highlighting school leaders who have made valuable contributions to their schools and communities. A few of the people they’ve impacted the most tell their inspiring stories. This week, Alexis Morada shares about her principal, Derek Bellow.

With more than 3,000 students, our school, Liberty High School in Henderson, NV, is one of the biggest in the state. You would think that a school with that many students would be sort of an impersonal place where it’s impossible for the administrators to get to know all the students.

But that’s not true at Liberty, and it’s because of our principal, Mr. Bellow. He knows so many students here by name. You see it when he walks down the hallways and talks to everyone. I think that’s one of the things that really makes him a great principal—he makes sure he knows his students and staff. And he helps to ensure there’s a real sense of community at our school, whose mascot is “The Patriot.” We know we are all part of the Patriot family, which is what we call it.

Culture is really important at our school, and Mr. Bellow is willing to say yes to all kinds of events and activities. That’s important to the student council because we are always coming up with new things that we want to do to keep things exciting, like playing music during lunch, or holding games and activities after school. That’s what creates traditions and makes Liberty so unique.

 Alexis Morada with Derek Bellow, principal of Liberty High School in Henderson, NV
Alexis Morada with Derek Bellow, principal of Liberty High School in Henderson, NV.

Mr. Bellow loves to play crazy games, and he’s not afraid to put himself out there. Even if something is silly, he’s up for it. And because he gets involved in all the activities, it makes students want to participate, too.

He just cares so much about all the students. I think that’s what stands out to me the most about Mr. Bellow.

Last year, I served on the board of the Nevada Association of Student Councils, and Mr. Bellow won the award for Administrator of the Year. It was a surprise for everyone else, but I told him in advance to make sure he would come to the state conference in Reno. He was shocked, but he completely deserved it. And it was awesome to be there and see him win it.

I remember when I was first elected student body president, we had an awards ceremony that I had to emcee. Mr. Bellow sat right next to me and went through everything. He gave me little pointers about what to say and how to stay calm and do well.

We also hosted a student government conference for schools from all over southern Nevada, with more than 1,000 people in our gym. It was the craziest experience, but he was there to help us and support us through everything, so the conference was a success.

Through student government and the National Honor Society, we do a ton of activities in the community, working on lots of projects with different groups. One of the biggest events involves putting together care packages for people in the military in honor of a soldier who lost their life serving our country. We fill a ton of boxes. Mr. Bellow is always at our events, supporting us and helping bring the community together for good causes.

As student body president this year, I’m really looking forward to working with Mr. Bellow to keep our school spirit high and make sure everyone feels included, especially with so many students here. I want students to want to come to Liberty and feel like it’s a fun, safe place that they look forward to coming to each day.

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