Cumberland County educator named NC Principal of the Year

Melody Chalmers

Principal Melody Chalmers of E.E. Smith High School in Cumberland County is the 2016 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year.

"Melody is known as an innovative problem solver who is committed to the academic and personal growth of each of her students and teachers. Her staff and students truly benefit from the nurturing learning environment she promotes," said State Superintendent June Atkinson.

The other finals were:

  • Northeast: William Peele, Bertie Middle (Bertie County Schools)

  • Southeast: Molly White, Lincoln Elementary (Brunswick County Schools)

  • North Central: Matthew Hunt, Northern High (Durham Public Schools)

  • Piedmont-Triad: Wayne Duggins, South Stokes High (Stokes County Schools)

  • Southwest: Maureen Furr, South Mecklenburg High (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)

  • Northwest: Kelly Nicholson, Oxford Elementary (Catawba County Schools)

  • Western: Peggy Marshall, Sugarloaf Elementary (Henderson County Schools)


For the next year, Chalmers will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education and NC Public School Forum Board of Directors, and as a member of the State Superintendent's Principals' Advisory Committee.

She also gets $3,000 for personal use and $3,000 for her school. She will also will receive professional development and resources supporting global awareness from Education First Tours, and a custom-made NC Principal of the Year signet ring and pendent from Jostens, Inc.

This is the 33rd year the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and The Wells Fargo Foundation have partnered to recognize the state's top principal. Since the program began in 1984, 36 Principals of the Year and 240 regional recipients have been recognized. In addition, The Wells Fargo Foundation has provided more than $1 million in cash awards to these individuals.
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