Jill Helland

Jill Helland

Jill Helland, principal of Garden Lakes School in Avondale, part of Pendergast Elementary School District, was awarded the Exemplary Principal Award from Steve Watson, Maricopa County School superintendent.

Watson presented the award at a Sept. 29 virtual community event in the Pendergast district. 

“It is an honor to recognize Jill Helland as an Exemplary Principal. She is a transformational leader with an unwavering commitment to students and their academic, social and emotional growth. She has created a caring and supportive community that both attracts and retains teachers and staff. Jill’s positive approach is an example of leadership at its finest,” Watson said.

This award is presented to individuals who exemplify practices and leadership who contribute to high expectations and exceptional student learning. They must undergo a rigorous five-step evaluation that involves a superintendent nomination, teacher/staff survey, video interview, site visit and data review.

Pendergast Superintendent Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jennifer Cruz nominated Helland for the award.

“Jill is the consummate professional who leads with her heart and soul. The students, staff, families and community love being part of this A-rated school due to Jill’s leadership of high expectations and personal academic achievement, team spirit and innovation,” DeBlieux said.

“We are so grateful to have Jill at the helm of Garden Lakes and are so proud of her accomplishments. We believe in her.”