Alumnus Named 2017 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year

East Carolina University alumnus Jason Griffin has been named the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year for 2017.Griffin is principal of Hertford Grammar School in Perquimans County, one of the smallest counties in the state.

Jason Griffin and Matthew Cheeseman

Photo courtesy of Matthew Cheeseman, Superintendent for Perquimans County Schools

Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in middle grades mathematics from ECU, a master’s in school administration from Elizabeth City State University and an education specialist degree from ECU.

At the awards ceremony on May 12, State Superintendent Mark Johnson said Griffin exemplifies the qualities of leadership essential for helping teachers excel and students to achieve.

“Hertford Grammar School’s strong progress is clear evidence of Jason’s leadership,” Johnson said. “He makes smart use of data to work with his teachers to personalize learning for all students. He delegates to help his teachers grow as leaders themselves, and he works to provide them with innovative strategies to improve teaching and learning for students.”

The Title I school, where nearly two thirds of the 400-plus students in third through fifth-grade are from low-income families, achieved a school grade of B for the first time last year. The school also was just one of six elementary schools in the state’s northeast education region to earn at least a B while also exceeding their targets for academic growth.

In naming Griffin Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Senior Community Relations Manager Juan Austin said, “Our education system has never been at a more critical juncture than now, and with administrators like Jason, we can see how dedication and effort connects with students, staff and parents on so many levels at Hertford Grammar School.

“So I’m pleased that we have the opportunity to reward his outstanding work and hold up Jason’s example for others to hopefully follow.”

Griffin was one of eight regional finalists chosen earlier this year following interviews and school visits by the selection committee.

Griffin joined Hertford Grammar in 2011 as a third-grade teacher and served as dean of students before being named principal. He previously was a second-grade teacher at Perquimans Central School and started his education career as a third-grade teacher at E.J. Hayes Elementary School in Martin County.

He was teacher of the year for Perquimans County Schools in 2012 and participates in numerous leadership activities in the district. In his submission for the award, Griffin said his greatest accomplishment as principal was leading Hertford Grammar to its performance grade of B – noting that five years earlier, the school was facing “corrective action” from the state.

“I believe my leadership style, collaboration with our district personnel, hiring effective teachers and my understanding of school-wide data has helped Hertford Grammar School become one of the most improved schools in Region I and in North Carolina,” he wrote.

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Griffin will receive $3,000 for personal use and $3,000 for his school. He also will receive professional development and resources supporting global awareness in the curriculum for his staff thanks to Education First Tours, and a custom­-made NC Principal of the Year signet ring and pendant from Jostens Inc.

Wells Fargo also will provide Griffin with a stipend to travel across the state as an ambassador for education. He will serve as a member of the State Superintendent’s Principals’ Advisory Committee, as an advisor to the State Board of Education and also to the board of directors for the NC Public School Forum. In addition, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction will sponsor Griffin’s enrollment and completion of the Education Policy Fellowship Program and he will compete for national recognition through the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association. He also will chair the 2018 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Selection Committee.

(Information provided by State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction news release).