‘My Purpose in Life is To Help Others Achieve their Highest Potentials and the Education Field Allows Me to Do That Daily,’ Says Granville County Principal of the Year Courtney Currin ’12MSA

Ever since Courtney Currin ’12MSA was 5 years old, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. She was that little girl who would teach her dolls. And when she thought about other career paths, she thought of them in addition to teaching. Being an educator is her life’s purpose. 

“My purpose in life is to help others achieve their highest potentials and the education field allows me to do that daily,” she said. 

Currin, who attended Meredith College for her undergraduate studies, was a Teaching Fellow and Honors Scholar, earning her bachelor’s degree in English with a 9-12 licensure. She taught English at J.F. Webb High School for eight years before earning her Master of School Administration (MSA) from the NC State College of Education and moving into school leadership. 

About Courtney Currin

Hometown: Hertford, North Carolina

City of Residence: Oxford, North Carolina

Role: Principal, Tar River Elementary School

Education: Master of School Administration, NC State College of Education; Bachelor of Arts in English and 9-12 licensure, Meredith College

Her Advice to Aspiring Educators: “First, you must love kids of all ages and genuinely believe that they can all achieve at high levels. Then, remember that there will be good days, bad days and absolutely amazing days. The positive impact you can have on the life of a child is priceless. Keep that as your focus every single day and remember that everyone in education wants everyone else to succeed. We will help you through the bad days so that you can fully appreciate the amazing ones.”

With a strong desire to increase her impact by serving students and staff, Currin decided to move into school administration, which was a difficult decision. She loved being in her classroom and working directly with her students, but she wanted to make a bigger impact.

“I know how important education is and how it can change a life. My driving force is giving every student the best opportunity to make a great life for themselves,” Currin said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with staff to find new ways to push students to success.”

That drive and perseverance earned Currin the title of the 2020-2021 Granville County Public Schools’ Principal of the Year.  

“When I found out, I was shocked, humbled and honored simultaneously. Every day, I just feel honored to serve my district in this way,” she said.

Currin served as assistant principal at Northern Granville Middle School for three years and principal at Butner-Stem Elementary School for three years before landing her current role as principal of Tar River Elementary School, where she has worked for the past three years. 

She credits the NC State College of Education for preparing her to be the administrator and leader she is today. Currin says that after her time at NC State, she felt very prepared to move into administration. Having courses that focused on the School Executive Leadership Standards, she says, gave her a solid foundation in knowing what to aim for as a leader. 

“While things happen daily for which you just cannot prepare, I have always felt confident that I had a strong foundation and knew how to get information to make the best decisions. This confidence came from my experiences in the MSA program,” she said.

“I will forever appreciate the foundation I received at NC State. From the coursework to the networking, NC State prepared me to put innovation into practice.”

But it was the relationships and connections she built with her professors, especially Gregory Hicks, Ed.D., assistant teaching professor and coordinator of the Master of School Administration in educational leadership program, that were the most impactful during her time at NC State.

“Dr. Hicks was not only an amazing professor, but he also became a great mentor and friend. From the first day in his classes to now, he is a constant resource for guidance with any issue,” Currin said. “There hasn’t been one specific experience [that has impacted me] but rather a combination of experiences because of the connection to Dr. Hicks that have helped me thrive in my leadership roles.”

Having served in the education field for 17 years, Currin doesn’t see herself doing anything else. 

“Seeing students smile when they get out of the car or see me in the hallway and I call them by name, and seeing students light up when they talk about their PBL [project-based learning] projects are just the best parts of my job,” she said. “I love helping create a safe, happy space where students can learn at high levels.”