South Stokes High School Principal Wayne Duggins has been named the Regional Principal of the Year and will now compete for the title of North Carolina Principal of the Year.
Duggins was surprised with the regional honor during an academic pep rally at the school on Friday.
Duggins was initially speechless upon learning he had received the honor, but quickly started thanking the school’s faculty, staff and students for the work they do.
“To be selected by your colleagues is enough for me, but I do want to also thank my wife,” he said. “My family sacrifices a lot for me to be here. To me this award is nothing I ever imagined. I do know that in my opinion this is not about me. It is about every single person in this room.
“I would not be awarded any of this if we did not have the dedicated staff which is here, if we did not have the community support, if I did not have the kids that are here,” he said. “I am truly honored. Thank you.”
Outgoing Schools Superintendent Ronnie Mendenhall said the award was the first time, to his knowledge, that a Stokes County Principal had been named a Regional Principal of the the Year.
“It indicates that Stokes County School System is on the cutting edge of all that is going on in education in the state,” he said. “It says that we are one of the top systems. We are one of the best systems and we have the best administrators and personnel in the state.”
Duggins was named as the Stokes County 2015-2016 Principal of the Year last fall, and was chosen as the Region V Principal of the Year by a three member committee comprised of a regional principal, a regional teacher and a representative of the Wells Fargo Corporation.
Region V includes the Stokes, Alamance, Asheboro, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Elkin, Forsyth, Guilford, Lexington, Mount Airy, Randolph, Rockingham, Thomasville, Surry, and Yadkin school districts.
The state level selection committee will be comprised of a previous state principal of the year, a previous state teacher of the year, a representative of the Wells Fargo Corporation, an ex officio representative from the Department of public Instruction, community leaders and agency partners.
Duggins, a native of Pennsylvania, has served at South Stokes since 2013 during which time he has led the school through several exceptional academic achievements.
The school’s graduation rate has continued to be above 90 percent and is on its way to reach the highest in history, pass rate for students taking ACT and WorkKeys assessments have improved, Math I proficiency rates have improved 25.9 percent, Biology proficiencies have risen 6.5 percent and English II proficiencies have risen 6.2 percent.
Duggins attributed his success to a drive for teamwork and a belief that every student can learn if you meet them at their level.
“That is my approach to teachers as well,” he said. “I try to set up a structure and a matrix for them to be the best they can possibly be. All of my teachers can tell you that my philosophy is we can all do it and if we work together we can be great.”
Duggins earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from Penn State University in December of 1993 and earned his Master of Arts degree in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University in July of 2002.
He began in education as a 6th Grade AG Math Teacher with Lexington Middle Schools where he also served as the head wrestling coach and assistant football coach. In August of 1999 he worked at Meadowlark Middle School in Winston Salem as a 6th grade Math/Science teacher. He was the Assistant Principal for several years at East Forsyth High School and Glenn High School. He belongs to the NC Principals & Assistant Principals Association, NC Association of Educators, Forsyth County Association of Educators and the Leadership Kernersville Class of 2012.
Duggins said he would not have had the success he has helped create at South Stokes without a dedicated staff.
“I have teachers at South Stokes right now that are doing things way beyond anything I ever thought of, but I hope I am giving them the opportunity to think outside of the box,” said Duggins. “I try to lead more than manage. It is really just steering people in the direction you think they need to go. You have to do a lot of observation on the good and the bad.
“I try to involve everybody I possibly can because I can’t do it by myself, I don’t have all of the answers,” he added. “I think South Stokes is the best school in the county. Everybody gets along and really works as a team. It has been a wonderful two years.”
Mendenhall noted that while the award identified Duggins as an excellent administrator, the principals at all the county’s other schools were also top notch.
“Every school is outstanding,” he said. “All of our administrators do an outstanding job.Anyone of our 19 school principals could have received this award for what they do. We are proud of all of them.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.