Wake County Schools

Garner Magnet educator named Principal of the Year

Posted October 6, 2011 10:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2011 5:44 a.m. EDT

— Garner Magnet High School not only has an "American Idol" winner in Scotty McCreery, it also can boast a Principal of the Year. 

The Wake County Public School System named Garner Magnet Principal Drew Cook the 2011 Principal of the Year during a ceremony at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh Thursday night. 

Cook has been principal of Garner Magnet for the past two and a half years. Before that, he was an assistant principal and teacher at Garner High.

“I have known him as a student athlete, fellow social studies teacher, my assistant basketball coach, my assistant principal and now my principal,” Garner High coach Eddie Gray said in a statement. “Over the years, I have watched him grow from a tall, gangly junior in high school that helped a young varsity basketball coach win a conference championship to an outstanding high school principal that has led our beloved school through some very difficult times.”

Cook, who has worked in education for 14 years, said continuous collection and analysis of data relevant to instructional programming is important.

The husband and father of two daughters enjoys playing church softball, golfing, hiking, and taking weekend trips to the beach.

The finalists for this year's Principal of the Year included Gary Baird of Lead Mine Elementary, Pamela Kinsey-Barker of Brassfield Elementary, Kevin Biles of Pleasant Union Elementary and Wade Martin of Martin Magnet Middle.

Also during Thursday's ceremony, Syreeta Smith of North Forest Pines Elementary was named the 2011 Assistant Principal of the Year.

Smith has been in education for 13 years and been assistant principal at North Forest Pines for five years. Before that, she was an assistant principal and assistant principal intern at Wilburn Elementary and a teacher in a Goldsboro elementary school.

The other finalists for Assistant Principal of the Year were Cheryl Fenner of Hilburn Drive Elementary, Ruth Ann Freeman of Bugg Magnet Elementary, Richard Williams of Davis Drive Middle and Greg Welsh of Panther Creek High.

The Principal of the Year receives a $1,000 check, as well as a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies and a HP Officejet combination printer/scanner/fax/copier. The Principal of the Year’s school receives a $500 monetary award.

The Assistant Principal of the Year receives a $500 check, as well as a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies and a HP Officejet combination printer/scanner/fax/copier.