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Nash County Public Schools 2021-2022 Principal of the Year Timothy Mudd ’13MSA Recognized for Success in Creating Opportunities for Students

Timothy Mudd ’13MSA wanted to coach high school basketball. But while that was his goal when he launched his education career, it didn’t take long for his purpose to change. As a high school math teacher, he was shocked by both the lack of opportunities available to his students and the lack of faith others had that his students could succeed in subjects like algebra and trigonometry.

His new purpose became to ensure all students, especially low-income students and students of color, receive the opportunities they need to succeed. Now, not only has he transitioned into an administrative role as the principal of Red Oak Middle School, but he has also been named the Nash County Public Schools 2021-2022 Principal of the Year.

“Every student has the ability to succeed. The only reason some students, more often than not low-income and minority students, don’t succeed is because they are not close enough to the opportunities that will allow them to succeed,” Mudd said. “It is our job as educators to make sure students get close enough to opportunities to take advantage of them.”

As principal, Mudd said he wants to make Red Oak Middle School the best middle school in the state of North Carolina. His efforts are showing results, with rising school performance grades that exceeded growth the last two years data existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But he’s not just looking at the numbers.

“Our goal is also to prepare students to be respectful, open-minded, ambitious and responsible young adults ready to engage with and contribute to society,” Mudd said.

Mudd sees his job as “creating the conditions necessary for learning to take place.” To accomplish that goal, he puts an emphasis on recruiting and developing effective teachers, as well as building a strong school culture.

“The more enjoyable the school day and setting, the less likely students and staff are to be absent and the more likely learning is going to take place,” he said. “At the end of the day, our administrative team works to do everything we can to allow teachers and students to focus on learning.”

Mudd said the NC State College of Education’s Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA) helped transform him from a high school math teacher who wanted to make a greater impact into the school leader he is today. As a part of NELA, Mudd discovered who he was as a leader and grasped the importance of understanding his local community and developing positive relationships.

“The work NELA does to create learning and opportunities, like a full-time administrative internship and professional one-on-one coaching, is invaluable and doesn’t happen with most programs at other institutions,” Mudd said.

For someone who prizes in-person connection, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for Mudd. But he still holds on to the purpose he discovered as a high school math teacher years ago.

“It’s super rewarding to see the growth and development of students and know that you had a part in that,” Mudd said.