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MSA Alum Receives Principal of the Year Award


Dr. Joe Ferrell (R): 2016 Principal of the Year Award
Dr. Joe Ferrell (R): 2016 Principal of the Year Award

Last week, Master of School Administration (MSA) alum, Dr. Joe Ferrell, was selected as the 2016 Principal of the Year by Alamance-Burlington County Schools.

Ferrell, who is the principal at Walter M. Williams High School, started his career in 1996 as a teacher and has dedicated the last twenty years to becoming an impactful educator, principal and leader.

When asked what his biggest motivation in being a principal is, Ferrell said, “Student success. People ask me why I have remained a principal for nearly 14 years and my answer is always the same…I like the impact I have on students. It truly is a reason to come to school every day.”

Ferrell was nominated to receive the Principal of the Year award by several Walter M. Williams High School staff members, and his colleagues laud his commitment to overall student excellence and dedication to the betterment of his school.

While completing his MSA at NC State University, Ferrell was given the opportunity to become assistant principal at Northern Middle School in Roxboro, kickstarting his career as an educational leader. Since then, he has held many prestigious principal roles at schools across North Carolina.

Dr. Gregory Hicks, MSA program coordinator, and close friend of Ferrell, was not surprised when he learned of Ferrell’s recognition. Hicks originally met Ferrell not through the MSA program, but at Northern Middle School, where he gave Ferrell his first leadership role as the assistant principal.

According to Hicks, “Ferrell is a genuine, confident and competent leader who has always demonstrated a mastery of his subject matter and top notch pedagogy.”

While Ferrell’s success is driven by his dedication to helping others, he says that the courses he took while in the Master of School Administration program helped him discover the importance of making decisions based on learnings from past situations, a skill that he uses daily in his role.
Ferrell will advance in a regional competition with other school district award recipients, where eight state-level finalists and ultimately one North Carolina Principal of the Year will be named.