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Kannapolis names principal of the year

KANNAPOLIS Ăł What’s been called an “amazing turnaround” at Jackson Park Elementary School in Kannapolis has resulted in a top honor for principal Walter A. “Lex” Graham.
Kannapolis City Schools on Tuesday named Graham the system’s Principal of the Year after he led Jackson Park Elementary to high levels of student achievement during the past two years.
Jackson Park has made high academic growth since 2007-2008, and it achieved 100 percent of its Adequate Yearly Progress goals in 2008-09. Jackson Park students are above the state average in both reading and math.
Prior to this year, the school had been in “school improvement status,” a term used by the federal government when a school does not make Adequate Yearly Progress in the same subject for two straight years.
In order to come out of school improvement, a school must make AYP in the same subject for two consecutive years.
Jackson Park not only achieved that goal but went beyond it. The school has met 100 percent of its AYP goals and is excelling in every area of student achievement.
Graham has been principal of Jackson Park Elementary since 2001.
“I’m so very proud of Lex Graham for all he’s done to raise student achievement to such a high level,” Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Byerly said in a statement. “He and his staff have done an excellent job of making every child successful, and he is so deserving of this honor.”
Janet Jenkins, Kannapolis City Schools Director of Student Assessment, praised Graham and his staff.
“What Lex Graham and his staff have done is a remarkable accomplishment,” Jenkins said. “They’ve done a tremendous job of taking data and using it to drive positive changes. They’ve also made a real effort to serve every child as an individual, and it’s paid off with very high student achievement.”
When he accepted the recognition, Graham gave credit to the people at his school.
“This honor speaks well of our staff and students, and I’m extremely proud of them,” he said. “Everyone in Kannapolis City Schools had such a great year last year, so I feel extremely fortunate to be chosen as Principal of the Year. I’m truly honored to represent this system.”
Graham has been with the system since 1972 and in public education since 1971. He has served Kannapolis City Schools as a teacher, coach, curriculum coordinator and principal.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Wake Forest University and holds two master’s degrees from UNC Charlotte, one in School Administration and one in Social Studies.
Graham will now represent Kannapolis City Schools in the regional competition for Principal of the Year in North Carolina.
He will compete against system-wide winners from other school districts in the Southwest Region of North Carolina. The regional Principal of the Year winner will go on to state competition.

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