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DF Walker Principal White named region's best

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Edenton-Chowan Schools Superintendent Rob Jackson announces to students and staff that Michelle White, principal at D.F. Walker Elementary School, has been named the Northeast Region Principal of the Year. White will compete next spring for the title of Wells Fargo N.C. Principal of the Year.

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By Miles Layton
Chowan Herald

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

EDENTON — The principal at D.F. Walker Elementary School will compete next year for the title of Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the year after being named the region’s top principal on Tuesday.

Michelle White was announced the winner of the Northeast Region Principal of the Year award during an assembly held in D.F. Walker’s Hornets’ Hive auditorium.

Among those on hand for the announcement were Edenton-Chowan Schools Superintendent Rob Jackson, members of the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education, school administrators, faculty, staff and students.

Also in attendance were former Edenton-Chowan Superintendent Allan Smith, current N.C. Principal of the Year Jason Griffin of Hertford Grammar School, former N.C. Principal of the Year Steve M. Lassiter Jr., and White’s family.

“Thank you everyone so much,” White said as her eyes teared up. “You are the best people ever.”

White, D.F. Walker’s principal since July 2015, praised members of the school board, White Oak Principal Shelia Evans — whom she referred to as “Momma” — D.F. Walker students, and everyone who is part of “Team Walker” for helping her in her job.

“To every person in this school, I love you,” she said.

Jackson noted how D.F. Walker was the only school in the state to exceed its academic growth targets during the past two years while also raising its letter grade from a “D” to a “B.”

Attributing that turnaround to White’s leadership, he noted that D.F. Walker reported the largest academic growth on state testing among the county's four schools, exceeding expected growth for the second year in a row while also raising its letter grade from a C to a B. Students at the school showed an overall proficiency rate of 88.8 percent.

“Under Mrs. White’s leadership, the students and staff of D.F. Walker Elementary School have achieved amazing success,” Jackson said. “Mrs. White has a true heart for children, and it is clear that she values students and their learning with an almost mission-like zeal.”

White believes a “strong partnership” with parents is key to student success, Jackson said. She also considers herself a “fellow learner” along with students and staff, earning her the respect and admiration of those with whom she works, he said.

“I am proud to serve with Mrs. White and greatly appreciate all that she does for our students and staff,” Jackson said.

White began her career in the Edenton-Chowan Schools as a principal at White Oak Elementary School in August 2012. But prior to then, she served as an assistant principal at Perquimans High School, and before that, served in an administrative position at Perquimans Central School, performing the duties of assistant principal, technology facilitator and instructional facilitator.

Griffin, who worked with White in Perquimans County, recalled how when she was a music teacher, she monitored every detail when organizing an entertainment event. Now that she’s a school principal, White is just as engaged, he said, paying close attention to testing and other data to improve the quality of education.

“We are so proud of you,” he said.

White advanced to the regional Principal of the Year competition after being named Edenton-Chowan Schools Administrator of the Year for 2017-18. As the Northeast Region Principal of the Year, she will compete in the spring against seven other regional finalists for the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year honor.

Regional winners will each receive $1,000 for their personal use and $1,000 for their schools. The 2018 State Wells Fargo Principal of the Year will be announced in the spring. 

\White earned a master's degree in school administration from Elizabeth City State University. In addition, she holds a master's degree in technology education from East Carolina University and a bachelor's degree in music education from East Carolina. 

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