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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: MAY 4, 2001


For Additional Information:
Jay E. Reed, 336.732.5855

Peggy Smith, principal of East Clayton Elementary School in Clayton, today was named 2001 Wachovia Principal of the Year.

Ms. Smith received the award at a ceremony in Raleigh from John D. Civils, executive vice president and director of community and government affairs for North and South Carolina Banking for Wachovia Bank, N.A., and Michael E. Ward, North Carolina superintendent.

"Peggy Smith has created a stellar example of what public education can achieve by involving parents, teaching strong character, providing a safe and loving environment for learning and, most of all, placing the students' needs above all else," Civils said. "It is an honor to present this award to such an outstanding educator."

Ms. Smith has been principal of East Clayton Elementary School since its inception in 1997. For the past three years her program has been honored as a School of Distinction by the State Board of Education, which means that 80 percent of students test at or above grade level.

"Peggy Smith has excelled at closing the achievement gap not only by making the proper educational tools available to every child but also by showing students that they are equally capable, loved and supported in their academic endeavors," Ward said. "I'm proud that the Wachovia Principal of the Year program can spotlight the success of all of our state's top principals, especially Peggy Smith."

As Wachovia Principal of the Year, Ms. Smith received a cash award of $5,000 for her personal use and a matching $5,000 grant for her school.

Also honored at the ceremony were the five finalists: William M. Anderson IV, principal of Shelby High School; Sally R. Bradshaw, principal of Jacobs Fork Middle School in Newton; Carol Ray, principal of Hall Fletcher Elementary School in Asheville; Deborah Parker, principal of Sunset Park Elementary School in Wilmington; and Rebecca R. Phelps, principal of Grandy Primary School in Camden. The finalists each received $2,000 for personal use and a matching $2,000 sum for their respective schools.

The Wachovia Principal of the Year program, now in its 18th year, recognizes public school principals throughout North Carolina and is co-sponsored by Wachovia Bank, N.A. and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Candidates are judged on many criteria including the demonstrated ability to improve achievement of all students from various backgrounds and capability levels.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.