Linden Elementary is one of 353 schools across the nation, and one of six in Tennessee, to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced today. The recognition identifies Linden as an Exemplary High Performing School for being among Tennessee’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Since 2017, Linden’s state Success Rate has increased year-over-year, nearly doubling over the six-year span. Similarly, the school’s ELA Success Rate has increased from 32.7% to 68% since 2017.

“I am so fortunate to lead a school of inspiring educators and students who show up every day determined to succeed,” said Heather Jenkins, Linden Elementary Principal. “Our people and their commitment to fostering a relationship with the community is truly what sets Linden apart. The long tradition of caring, compassionate staff and overwhelming parental and community involvement continues to contribute to our success.”
According to the Department of Education, National Blue Ribbon School leaders “articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards,” and also “demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning.” Jenkins, while in her first year as principal, has been integral to the ongoing success at Linden for over 18 years, beginning her career as a teacher for the Lions and spending seven as assistant principal before becoming principal.

“Heather has been an invaluable asset and leader at Linden Elementary,” said Dr. Bruce Borchers, Superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools. “Even before becoming principal, the deep relationships she built with her staff, students and community members directly impacted the success we’ve seen in the classroom. Linden’s commitment to creating strong academic rigor and continuously improving through collaboration and data-driven decision making is something we as a district are so proud of. This recognition is a well-deserved testament to the hard work by the entire staff at Linden.”

National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators, the designation is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites nominations for the award from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.
“The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to Raise the Bar in education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The leaders, educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. As the Biden-Harris Administration partners with states and schools to accelerate academic success and transform educational opportunity in this country, we take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students, and engaging families.”

Representatives from this year’s National Blue Ribbon Schools will be recognized at a special two-day National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C., November 16 – 17, 2023.

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at