Wolfpack Alumni Lead North Johnston High School’s Administrative Team
When Belinda Proctor ’16MSA, the new principal at North Johnston High School, needed to put together an administrative team, her first pick was a former NC State College of Education classmate, Tim Chartrand ’16MSA.
“I sort of dreamed that if I ever got this position, he would be the person that I would choose first,” Proctor said. “He had really taught me a lot about himself and his commitment to education.”
To fill the second open assistant principal position, she reached out to Greg Hicks, a lecturer in the NC State College of Education’s principal preparation programs, and asked for a recommendation. Hicks mentioned a recent graduate, Deric Munoz ’23MSA, who was excited to work with Chartrand and Proctor.
Now, all three administrators at North Johnston High School — Proctor, Chartrand and Munoz — are alumni of the NC State College of Education’s principal preparation programs.
“As soon as you walk in and say, ‘Yeah, I got my master of school administration from NC State,’ it automatically creates a family bond,” Munoz said. “I think that’s why we work so well together.”
Proctor served as assistant principal at North Johnston High School when it was named the Most Improved Comprehensive High School in the county for 2022 and 2023, and the school is currently in the top 10% of schools in the state for growth on state assessments. Her team’s goal is to ensure the school continues to be a place where students achieve success and where other educators want to work.
“Now what are we going to do to keep going, so we don’t stagnate?” Munoz said. “It starts and ends with that culture piece.”
To create a strong school culture, the administrative team has made a concerted effort to empower teachers at the school.
“I think the teachers here feel appreciated, and they know that we have their backs,” Chartrand said. “We listen to them, and we attend their [professional learning communities]. We are there no matter what’s going on.”
Proctor said she hopes North Johnston will grow its reputation as a school where learning takes place.
“Everywhere I go, I’m seeing these little magic moments where kids are going to work or saying, ‘Come see what we’re doing,'” Proctor said. “That’s kind of what I live for. It’s very exciting.”
All three administrators said earning their master’s degrees from the NC State College of Education helped prepare them for their current roles as school leaders. For Proctor, it was the focus on public speaking.
“There were a lot of presentations, but I didn’t notice until later on how very important those things were — from being able to lead a staff meeting to being able to work with a professional learning community — all of those things came back and were useful,” Proctor said.
For Chartrand, it was the valuable lessons he learned in his legal and human resources courses.
“The classes were relevant,” Chartrand said. “They weren’t just fluff.”
And for Munoz, it was the cohort model that was essential.
“Having people with you who are going through the exact same thing—I can text any one of those 10 right now, and they’re going to respond within minutes,” Munoz said. “We know that family, that Pack mentality, brings us all together.”
Proctor has made it her goal to ensure that Pack mentality continues to exist among her administrative team.
“[At NC State], we were in a cohort, and I really thought that was important because we’re basically in a cohort here,” Proctor said.
Just as cohorts of students at NC State graduate and take on new challenges, Proctor knows both Munoz and Chartrand will one day become principals at their schools of their own. She sees it as her responsibility to prepare them for that next step and, when it does occur, she plans to turn again to the College of Education.
“I know that I will be able to find another set of assistant principals from NC State,” Proctor said. “That’s where I’ll go first because I know that the program is so rigorous and really prepares you for the job.”