EDMOND — On July 1, Debbie Bendick will end a four-year run as Edmond Memorial High School principal. She's been named executive director of secondary education for Edmond Public Schools.
As principal, she left a profound impression on students, parents and faculty, her co-workers said.
“Dr. Bendick is one of the hardest-working and most dedicated professionals I have ever worked with,” said Memorial library media director Jennifer Babb. “Doing what's best for the students has always been her No. 1 goal.”
Bendick, 62, takes that mission to the administration office where she replaces Jason Brown. Susan Parks-Schlepp, spokeswoman for Edmond Schools, said Brown accepted an administrative post in Norman. A successor to Bendick has not been named.
“I will miss my daily interactions with students, but I am eager to use what I've learned as a teacher and administrator to enhance the work of Edmond's site leaders,” Bendick said.
Bendick has nearly two decades of experience with Edmond schools. She arrived in 1994 as assistant principal at Summit Middle School and then was an assistant at Sequoyah and Memorial. In 2000, she became the first principal at the new Cheyenne Middle School. During that tenure, Cheyenne was awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School status.
In the fall of 2009 she became principal at Memorial, where she stressed leading through giving or servant leadership. One of the instructors coming over from Cheyenne to Memorial was Natalie Murray, a history instructor and head volleyball coach.
“Debbie is one of the most incredible leaders I've ever known. I adore her,” Murray said. “She sets high expectations of herself and her staff.”
The principal's job for Bendick wasn't a 40-hour-a-week undertaking. Murray said Bendick went to nearly every arts performance or sporting event, including most of the volleyball games.
“The players really appreciated it,” she said. “There are thousands of students at Memorial and she made an effort to know most of them.”
Working with teens has been absolutely exhilarating. Their spontaneity, zest, honesty, curiosity and creativity combine to create an environment more lively than anyone outside of education could imagine.”
Incoming executive director of secondary education for Edmond Public Schools