Pake named BCS Principal of the Year

Published 4:47 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023

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By ELLEN BRABO / For the Washington Daily News

Emily Pake, principal of Beaufort County Early College High School, has been named the 2023-2024 Beaufort County Schools (BCS) Principal of the Year. The announcement was made during the School Board meeting, August 15.

Pake, a native of Beaufort County, graduated from Washington High School in 1999. Her connection to the community is deeply rooted, evident in her enduring commitment to the educational advancement of its youth.

“I was excited and honored to receive this award,” said Pake. “I look forward to representing BCS at the regional level.”

With a commitment to education spanning two decades, Pake’s dedication and leadership have set her apart in the field. Currently on the cusp of completing her Education Doctorate at East Carolina University in May, Pake’s scholarly pursuit aligns with her passion for fostering academic excellence.

“[Pake] exemplifies the true spirit of leadership as [she] is a champion for all students,” said Dr. Matthew Cheeseman, Superintendent for BCS. “She has an incredible ability to unite and focus educational professionals, parents, and community members to high standards that enable and encourage all students to achieve and exceed their academic potential.”

In the 2021-2022 academic year, Pake’s leadership led Early College High School to surpass expectations. The school exceeded growth targets, ranking in the top five percent of high-performing schools in North Carolina. This achievement garnered attention from the U.S. Department of Education, which identified Early College High School as a contender for the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award. Only eight schools in North Carolina received this nomination. Finalists are expected to be announced later this month.

As Principal of the Year, Pake aspires to address the unique challenges faced by rural counties, including those within BCS. She aims to collaborate with legislators to advocate for enhancements in critical areas such as recruitment, retention, housing, and compensation for educators. Pake envisions a future where every student, regardless of location, benefits from the best possible education.

“My goal as a principal was and will always be to hire and maintain the best teachers and faculty for my students, and to build the leaders within all,” noted Pake in her Principal of the Year candidate profile.

Pake’s husband, Scott Pake and their three daughters, were present to witness the announcement during the board meeting.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Scott Pake. “She works extremely hard, and she runs a great school. It’s nice to see her recognized.”

Pake will advance to the regional level of the competition this fall. This phase involves submitting a comprehensive portfolio and participating in an interview process.