Education

Students, teachers celebrate E.E. Smith leader named NC Principal of the Year

Posted May 13

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— Students and teachers at E.E. Smith High School in Cumberland County celebrated Principal Melody Chalmers Friday morning at a pep rally honoring her selection as this year's Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year.

Chalmers was awarded the honor during a selection luncheon Thursday afternoon in Cary. She says the teachers and students play a huge role in her success.

"We have phenomenal teachers and students that make an impact every day," Chalmers said. "We have continued to improve student achievement and meet high growth standards in the state of North Carolina. This achievement will help us to put us on the map and showcase all the great things that are happening, not just at E.E. Smith, but in Cumberland County schools as well."

Chalmers, a graduate of E.E. Smith High, has spent her 18-year education career in Cumberland County Schools. She is known as an innovative problem solver who is committed to the personal growth of each of her students.

In naming Chalmers the 2016 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year, Juan Austin, Wells Fargo Carolinas Community Affairs senior vice president, said, “Melody has a special ability to recruit and retain quality teachers in her school, and student achievement is remarkable. Our education system has never been at a more critical juncture than now, and with administrators like Melody, we all see how dedication and effort connects with students, staff and parents.”

Chalmers said it is all about teamwork.

"Collaboration and working together. We can't work alone, isolated on an island," she said. "We have to work together to help our students overcome the obstacles they are facing in the community."

Chalmers is the third principal from E.E. Smith High to win the statewide award, something no other school has done.

"We are getting results, and we are doing it by working together and partnering with our local community to make sure we provide all of the resources we can for students," she said.

As Principal of the Year, Chalmers was awarded $3,000 for herself and $3,000 for her school along with resources for staff development, a ring and a pendant. She will also have the opportunity to travel across the state serving as an ambassador for education, and she will be the chairwoman of next year's Principal of the Year selection committee.

The award is sponsored by Wells Fargo, and several of Chalmers' prizes, including the statewide travel stipend, are paid for by the bank.

Other finalists for the award were:
•      Northeast: William Peele, 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, South Stokes High (Stokes County Schools);
•      Southwest: Maureen Furr, South Mecklenburg High (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools);
•      Northwest: Kelly Nicholson, Oxford Elementary (Catawba County Schools); and
•      Western: Peggy Marshall, Sugarloaf Elementary (Henderson County Schools).

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