North Carolina School Superintendent June Atkinson poses with Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole, North Carolina’s Principal of the Year. The road to North Carolina Principal of the Year started last summer. Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole was first named Beaufort County Schools’ principal of the year. He then competed against principals in eastern North Carolina and was named Region One Principal of the Year. As the state’s principal of the year, he will compete against other states in hopes of becoming the country’s principal of the year.
North Carolina School Superintendent June Atkinson poses with Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole, North Carolina’s Principal of the Year. The road to North Carolina Principal of the Year started last summer. Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole was first named Beaufort County Schools’ principal of the year. He then competed against principals in eastern North Carolina and was named Region One Principal of the Year. As the state’s principal of the year, he will compete against other states in hopes of becoming the country’s principal of the year.

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Chocowinity principal best in state

Published 11:50pm Friday, April 5, 2013

Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole was named the 2013 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year during a luncheon ceremony held in Cary on Thursday, April 4.
The Beaufort County Schools’ principal succeeds Oak Hill Elementary School (Guilford County Schools) Principal Patrice Faison.
Cole credits collaboration as a key to a positive learning environment and firmly believes that collaborative teams produce the best results in any given situation.
“Over the last few years, I have learned that lasting improvements and changes come when consensus is reached by staff on a course where they build the plan and help to hold each other accountable. As principal, it is best to facilitate this process, not take charge of it,” Cole said.
In naming Cole the 2013 Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Carolinas Community Affairs Manager Juan Austin said, “Chocowinity Middle School’s performance is the best indication of the strength of Dale Cole’s leadership, and that performance has been exceptional. Cole’s work ethic, enthusiasm and caring personality have been keys to his success as a principal. He will make an excellent ambassador for effective administration in public education.”
As principal, Cole doubled the number of students taking pre-algebra and algebra classes and expanded the number of classes offered and taken through the NC Virtual Public School. He also supervised the implementation of the PBIS program at Chocowinity Middle School that resulted in a drop of 700 discipline referrals in one year, improved school climate and boosted test scores.
State Superintendent June Atkinson commended Cole on his selection.
“Dale understands what it takes to be an effective administrator. His strong understanding of the curriculum, effective teaching practices and the importance of collaboration are all hallmarks of an exceptional school administrator,” she said. “Dale is a wonderful example of the principals we are so fortunate to have leading our public schools.”
Dr. Don Phipps, Superintendent of Beaufort County Schools, said Cole’s positive vision was one of the keys to his productivity.
“Dale is willing to take on any challenge and sees the possibilities rather than the obstacles,” Phipps said. “His focus on ‘what can be’ drives him to set the stage for success. He understands that change is often difficult, and rarely popular, but has pressed toward school improvement and professional improvement throughout his career.”
Cole received a Bachelor of Science in English from East Carolina University in 1995, and a Master of Science in School Administration also from East Carolina University in 2007. During his educational career, he has served as a high school English teacher and football and baseball coach, a high school assistant principal, and a middle school principal. While an assistant principal, he implemented one of the first Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS) programs at the high school level in the state. He also supervised the creation of a 9th grade academy where he created the first Professional Learning Community for the 9th grade academy teachers.
When not doing his job, thinking about his job or talking with others about public education, Cole enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with his wife and three children.
A statewide selection committee selected Cole from among eight regional finalists following interviews and on-site visits.
The other regional finalists were:
North Central Region: Leondus Farrow, Jr., Rocky Mount High (Nash-Rocky Mount Schools); Northwest Region: Elizabeth Rosenbalm, Conover School (Newton-Conover City Schools); Southeast Region: Wesley Johnson, Hobbton High (Sampson County Schools); Southwest Region: Lynn Rhymer, Central Cabarrus High (Cabarrus County Schools);Sandhills/South Central Region: Wendy Jordan, Mineral Springs Elementary, (Richmond County Schools); Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Leigh Jones, Dalton L. McMichael High (Rockingham County Schools); and West Region: Ricky Tipton, East Yancey Middle (Yancey County Schools). Each regional finalist received $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for personal use.
As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Cole will receive an additional $3,000 for his school and $3,000 for personal use. He also will receive a scholarship for a 10-day educational tour of China thanks to EF Education First, a privately-held company that offers a range of education programs from language training, educational travel and academic degrees to cultural exchanges. He will be a member of the State Superintendent’s Principals’ Advisory Committee, serve a one-year term as advisor to the State Board of Education, serve a one-year term on the Board of Directors for the NC Public School Forum, and will chair the 2014 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Selection Committee.
The Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year program is sponsored in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In its 29th year, the program provides a unique opportunity to recognize outstanding principals from North Carolina public schools.

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