Sandalwood’s Lingenfelder Named ES Principal of the Year

-photo courtesy of LinkedIn-

Melissa Lingenfelder has been the principal of Sandalwood Elementary School in Essex for seven years and was recognized as BCPS Elementary School Principal of the Year.
“I was full of emotions: shock, joy, pride, and excitement to be honored for the accomplishments of Sandalwood in this way,” Lingenfelder said about her award.

The Sandalwood principal has been in the BCPS family for 22 years. She is proud how she was able to create a safe and supportive learning environment during the past seven years. When she started at the school, Sandalwood’s Social Emotional Learning team consists of one school counselor and one MTSS teacher. Today, the support team has grown as there are two school counselors, two social workers, and one MTSS teacher. As a result, the school’s office referrals decreased by 60 percent.

Lingenfelder explained that students remaining in the classroom learning only helps with academics.

“During my first year at Sandalwood, I saw the need for students to have access to more support services. I knew that we needed to be more proactive with student mental health needs in order to see improvements with student learning outcomes” she said.

“By advocating for my students at Sandalwood, I was able to create the strongest SEL team I have ever had the pleasure of supervising.”

Lingenfelder will be recognized at a special Champions for Children Celebration Gala on Thursday, April 18, at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology along with Dr. Scott Rodriguez-Hobbs, of Patapsco High School the BCPS High School Principal of the Year and Adam Carney of Cockeysville Middle School, the BCPS Middle School Principal of the Year, to see who will be named BCPS Principal of the Year. Lingenfelder added she is thankful for her team at Sandalwood and credits her staff and the Sandalwood students for her award.

“I have never worked with a more dedicated staff. Our staff shows up for our students every day prepared to provide high caliber instruction with high expectations to all students. In my eyes, the only reason I am nominated for this award is because of my staff and students,” Lingenfelder told

“My AP, teachers, SEL team, secretaries, nurses, CSF, resource staff, leadership team, custodial staff, and additional adults are second to none. Our students are kind, smart, considerate humans, who make me want to come to work every day.”

Benjamin Joseph

Benjamin Joesph has covered news in Eastern Baltimore County since 2006. He started as a reporter with the original East County Times in 2006. He started East Baltco News and later in 2022.