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Wake County names principal, assistant principal of the year

Posted October 16, 2009

— The Wake County Public School System named John Wall of North Garner Middle School the 2009 Principal of the Year and Fay Jones of Forest Pines Drive Elementary the 2009 Assistant Principal of the Year in ceremonies Thursday night at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh.

Wall has been in education for 22 years and has been principal at North Garner Middle for four years. Prior to that, he was principal and assistant principal at Zebulon Middle and a teacher at Carnage Middle. Earlier, he taught in New York.

“An effective principal should create environments that are challenging for students, supportive of teachers and welcoming to parents,” Wall said. “Effective communication and problem-solving skills are essential.”

Wall says a focus on data is a key toward understanding the needs of students.

“I have created an Academic Intervention Model that provides students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency on grade level goals and objectives and to complete missing work,” he said. “If students perform poorly on assessments or fail to turn in assignments, they are required to attend a study hall where a certified teacher works with them to ensure competency or work compliance.

"We also created monthly enhancement days to create a structure to re-teach struggling students or to enrich students who mastered the material. These enhancement days revolve around the data collected from common formative assessments in reading and math.”

Wall was a finalist for Wake County Principal of the Year in 2004; Mentor of the Year by the Helping Hands Program; and served as president of the Wake County Division of Principals and Assistant Principals.

The 2009 Principal of the Year finalists included Mary Page of Bugg Elementary, Annice Williams of Barwell Road Elementary, Teresa Winstead of Durant Road Elementary and Edward McFarland of Fuquay-Varina High.

Assistant principal winner 'uses creativity'

Jones, the 2009 Assistant Principal of the Year, has been in education for 15 years and has been assistant principal at Forest Pines Drive Elementary for five years.

Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal and teacher who split time between Green Hope Elementary, Adams Elementary and Farmington Woods Elementary. She also worked as a teacher at Farmington Woods Elementary and West Lake Elementary.

Forest Pines Drive teacher Cynthia Nanni called Jones a problem solver.

“She uses creativity to find solutions when a problem or situation seems difficult to solve,” Nanni said. “Her ability to ‘think outside the box’ is a true asset to her leadership qualities. Ms. Jones is an advocate for the ideas and programs she believes would be beneficial to our school and is diligent in finding ways to make them happen.”

The 2009 Assistant Principal of the Year finalists included Melissa Blackmon of Willow Springs Elementary, Lisa Brown of Leesville Road Elementary, Christopher Coby of Wendell Middle and Robert Matheson of Apex High..

Winners, finalists receive awards

The 10 finalists received an acrylic award and a rolling cart filled with office supplies compliments of Office Depot. The principal finalists received a monetary award that was given by Hunt Ward, Lifetouch Studios. Each assistant principal finalist received a monetary award that was made possible by Jubal Stagner and Kim Trezona of Jostens.

The Principal of the Year received a $1,000 check compliments of Hunt Ward of Lifetouch Studios as well as a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies and a HP Deskjet combination printer/scanner/copier compliments of Sonya Reid of Office Depot.

The Principal of the Year’s school received a $500 monetary award compliments of Michael Strawbridge, Strawbridge Studios.

The Assistant Principal of the Year received a $500 check, compliments of Jubal Stagner and Kim Trezona of Jostens as well as a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies and a HP Deskjet combination printer/scanner/copier compliments of Sonya Reid of Office Depot.

Principals and assistant principals are nominated by their peers. Each finalist is required to submit a portfolio, receive a site visit, and is interviewed by a panel of educators and community members.


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  • aintbackingdwn Oct 16, 2009

    Creativity? Not till the fat lady sings

  • mdsmks Oct 16, 2009

    For those of you that balk at the parent that hired a tutor for her child, please note that much has changed over the years relevant to math instruction and tutors (who are typically middle or high school math teachers) are more familiar with the newer methods of teaching higher level math. I took Calculus in high school, statistics in college and college level algebra and trig for easy A's, but that was 25 to 30 years ago. I tried to help my children, but the methods I learned are different and with the introduction of those rather expensive scientific calculators that were not around in the 1970's (at least at the junior high level), I felt it was in my children't best interst to higher a tutor when needed. I was fortunate to find someone that was not only very intelligent, but a really good teacher. Good parents recognize their weaknesses and make sure their children have what they need to be successful in school.

  • br549znc Oct 16, 2009

    Mr. Wall was my sons' principal when they were in middle school. He ran a tight ship and was good for the students. Congratulations to him.

  • kmb0694 Oct 16, 2009

    "Clearly she doesn't have the skills to help her child."

    That's what bothers me. It's middle school math, for goodness sake.


    I wonder if our 7th graders are on the same track. My son has great teachers. (he did get all A's including pre-algebra)

  • Tarheel True Oct 16, 2009

    It will be a cold day in Hades before anyone at Wake-Forest Rolesville Middle School gets an award. You would not believe the stories I hear about that place!

  • voice your opinion Oct 16, 2009

    kmb0694, you wrote: Just curious as to why you couldn't tutor your child?

    Clearly she doesn't have the skills to help her child. But I'm glad she hired someone to help him.

    Every evening my daughter has about 3 hours of homework (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies). She needs help with her Pre-Algebra due to how quick it is taught in class. Almost every evening, I work with her to help reinforce the concepts learned during the day. She received 5 As and a B in Math (just missed an A by 2 points).

    Do I like having to go back through school again? No but as a parent who wants children to be productive adults, it's my responsibility. Unfortunately most adults don't take their parenting responsibilities seriously.

    If they did, shows like SuperNanny wouldn't be on TV, kids would do their homework, etc... the list goes on and on.

    The school can only do so much. Most kids come to school with so much baggage from home, it's any wonder they learn anything.

  • voice your opinion Oct 16, 2009

    I have a 7th grader in NGMS and am glad Mr. Wall received the Award. He deserves it. My daughter just finished her first semester and earned (not received but earned) 5 A's and 1 B. The B was in Pre-Algebra. She is doing very well at NGMS and all of the teachers, but one, have been very open to suggestions. I believe it has to do with the expectations from Mr. Wall.

    He has very high expectations of his faculty and his students. I've seen it demonstrated time and time again.


  • hoopster Oct 16, 2009

    I cannot believe that someone would have something negative about the winners. It just shows that you cannot satisfy them all. Great job, JOHN WALL!!

  • kmb0694 Oct 16, 2009


    Just curious as to why you couldn't tutor your child?

  • pamslaff Oct 16, 2009

    Congrats Ms. Jones, well done and well deserved.