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2016 Principal of the Year crowned

A Cumberland County Principal, Melody Chalmers, was named the 2016 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year last week.

Chalmers currently serves as principal at Ezekiel Ezra Smith High School, but prior to that, she served as an assistant principal and principal at other Cumberland County Schools, according to a press release from the Department of Public Instruction.

“Melody is known as an innovative problem solver who is committed to the academic and personal growth of each of her students and teachers,” said state Superintendent June Atkinson in the press release. “Her staff and students truly benefit from the nurturing learning environment she promotes.”

The Wells Fargo Foundation and the Department of Public Instruction have worked together for 33 years, selecting principals and teachers for the honor of Principal of the Year or Teacher of the Year.

“I’m pleased that we have this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of outstanding North Carolina educators who work tirelessly to help our children achieve academic success,” said Juan Austin, Wells Fargo Carolinas Community Affairs senior vice president.

Perks of being named Principal of the Year include $3,000 for Chalmers to use as she sees fit and $3,000 for her school, in addition to professional development and resources for her staff, and a Principal of the Year ring.

Chalmers will also join the State Superintendents Advisory Committee and be an advisor to the State Board of Education. Wells Fargo will give her a stipend so she can go around the state as an education ambassador, and DPI will put her through the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

The other regional Principals of the Year that were in contention for the title claimed by Chalmers are:

Northeast: William Peele III, Bertie Middle (Bertie County Schools)
Southeast: Molly White, Lincoln Elementary (Brunswick County Schools)
North Central: Matthew Hunt, Northern High (Durham Public Schools)
Piedmont-Triad: Wayne Duggins Jr., South Stokes High (Stokes County Schools)
Southwest: Maureen Furr, South Mecklenburg High (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)
Northwest: Kelly Nicholson, Oxford Elementary (Catawba County Schools)
Western: Peggy Marshall, Sugarloaf Elementary (Henderson County Schools)

They will all get $1,000 for personal use and $1,000 for their schools.

Chalmers will replace current principal of the year Steve Lassiter, who heads Pactolus Elementary School in Pitt County.

Go here to see the news release.


Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.