Booker High School principal Dr. Rachel Shelley was recently named the Florida Art Education Association’s 2019 Principal of the Year for her support of the arts in education. The Florida Art Education Association was founded in 1952 with the mission of promoting art education in Florida by empowering teachers and administrators in their work in arts advocacy.
Shelley, who became principal of Booker High School in 2011, is known as a champion of the arts and oversees the school’s Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) program. Under Shelly's leadership, the VPA program has thrived, earning accolades from organizations like Niche.com, which ranked Booker High School as the 11th best school in Florida for the arts. The school has also produced numerous Embracing Our Differences winners, won the state title for "Best Production" at the annual Florida Theatre Conference; and produced a professional-grade documentary that was adjudicated not as student film but a regular one at the Sarasota Film Festival. Booker High School now has two full-time art teachers and offers classes in visual art as well as animation, filmmaking, dance and music, regardless of student ability or interest in enrolling in VPA.