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Focus on Mentorship Leads to Laura Wilson-Wadsworth ’18MSA Being Named Franklin County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year

When Laura Wilson-Wadsworth ’18MSA was named Franklin County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year, she was overwhelmed by the emails, phone calls and socially distanced visits she received. But her favorite note came from a student she had mentored for over three years, who wrote to tell Wilson-Wadsworth how proud she was of her.

That note stood out to Wilson-Wadsworth because mentoring is such a key part of what she does every day at Bunn High School — whether that’s connecting with her students or working to build up her teachers’ capacity for leadership.

“To be an effective school system, we must work to reach all students — all children deserve to have a competent and caring adult in their lives,” said Wilson-Wadsworth. “If we can continue to mentor and coach our staff to continuously be the best they can be, we are one step closer to achieving this goal.”

Wilson-Wadsworth earned her Master of School Administration from NC State’s Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA). She credits Professor Bonnie Fusarelli, Ph.D., the director of NC State’s Leadership Academies, with teaching her lessons about leadership, professionalism, empathy and ethics. From cohort director and Teaching Assistant Professor Cathy Williams, Ed.D., Wilson-Wadsworth said she gained a love of school culture, climate and professional learning communities (PLCs). 

“Prior to enrolling in NELA, I would have classified myself as an independent learner and worker who elects to do everything by herself, without ever relying on, or including others,” said Wilson-Wadsworth. “NC State taught me that the best way to achieve is to take synergistic action whenever possible. Now, I strive to include teachers, staff and other stakeholders in as much of my work and decision-making as possible; and as promised, the results are remarkable.”

That’s part of what she loves about being an assistant principal — working with teachers, staff and other leaders to make a difference in the lives of students. Her decision to move into administration was based on a desire to reach even more than the few hundred students she interacted with as a high school math teacher and coach.

“While this may sound like a sizable amount, I found myself wanting to find a way to impact many more kids per year,” said Wilson-Wadsworth. “Assuming an administrative role helped me to do just that. I now have the chance to work with more than 800 students in a typical year and see them engage in a variety of school activities, both inside and outside of the classroom. It’s truly the best of both worlds.”

Wilson-Wadsworth is now pursuing her Ed.D. in educational leadership at the NC State College of Education, with plans to earn her superintendent licensure.