Shonda Hairston of Knollwood named principal of the year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2012

SALISBURY — Shonda Hairston, principal of Knollwood Elementary School, has been selected as the 2013 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year for the Rowan-Salisbury School System in a program sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Wells Fargo Bank.
Rowan-Salisbury School System Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom made the announcement during the elementary principals’ monthly meeting this morning at Shive Elementary School.  
“I am thrilled that Mrs. Hairston was selected as the RSS Principal of the Year,” Grissom said.  “She is the epitome of a leader and student advocate. Her focus is always on doing what is best for our students.  We are fortunate to have her as a part of the RSS Team.”
Hairston will compete with other award recipients for the title of Northwest Regional Principal of the Year. Once all North Carolina regional principals of the year have been selected, one will be named the 2013 Wells Fargo North Carolina principal of the year.
Hairston received her bachelor of science in English in 1993 and her master’s in school administration in 2006, both from UNC-Charlotte.
Hairston and her husband, Daniel, have two children.
Hairston began her career with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools in 1993 by serving as a teacher at Corriher-Lipe Middle School, before transferring to Knox Middle School in 1998 as a Language Arts teacher. Hairston then served as assistant principal at Salisbury High School in 2004, a position she held until becoming the principal at Knollwood in August 2007.
Under Hairston’s leadership, Knollwood met expected growth through the state ABC accountability standards for the 2011-12 school year.
Hairston was speechless, teary eyed and all smiles as Grissom made the announcement to all RSS elementary principals and central office staff. Fellow principals and staff applauded and cheered as Hairston made her way to the front of the room to accept flowers and balloons from Dr. Grissom.
“Shonda is quite diligent as she approaches leading our elementary school,” says Perry Bradshaw, Guidance Counselor at Knollwood.  “She takes her responsibilities and wears them in her heart and on her sleeve.  She really cares and is respected and works at this all the time.  She is making difference at our school.”
Hairston succeeds Jesse Carson High School Principal Kelly Withers who was the district’s principal of the year for 2012 and also named the 2012 Wells Fargo Northwest Regional Principal of the Year.
Since 1984, Wells Fargo Bank has sponsored the financial awards in collaboration with the NC Department of Public Instruction to recognize outstanding principals from the NC pubic schools. The regional Wells Fargo Principals of the Year receive a $1000 cash award for their school and a $1000 cash award for personal use.
The 2013 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year will receive a $3,000 cash award for their school and a $3,000 cash award for his or her personal use. The state winner also serves as the Principal of the Year advisor to the N.C. State Board of Education.
Regional award recipients will be selected in early 2013.  The 2013 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year will be announced in the spring of 2013 at a state luncheon to be held in Raleigh.  
The current Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year is Patrice Faison, Principal of Oak Hill Elementary School, in the Guilford County School System.