South Stokes High School’s Wayne Duggins has been named the 2015-16 Stokes County Principal of the Year.
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.”
He said learned that while teaching at Meadowlark Middle School in Winston-Salem, about five or six years into his career.
“I begrudgingly started teaching an inclusion class and really did not want to do it in my heart,” he remembers. “I did not think it would work, but it turned out to be my most successful year because ti kind of opened my eyes and changed my whole outlook on education.
“I had a class of students with all kinds of deficiencies and backgrounds but they came together as a class,” he said.”They bought into what we were doing and I bought into them and it was just a magical year. I had only one student who was not proficient at the end of the year and she chad come up by nine points. It was the year where I knew why I was doing what I as doing.”
He said much of his success that year was working with an administrator who encouraged and supported new methods of teaching, a method he tries to imitate today.
“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.”
Duggins earned his bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from Penn State university in 1993 and his Master of Arts degree in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University in 2002.
He began is career in education as a sixth grade AG math teacher with Lexington Middle Schools where he also served as the head wrestling coach and assistant football coach, before moving to Meadowlark Middle School in 1999. He also served as assistant principal for several years at East Forsyth High School and Glenn High School before coming to Stokes County.
He now lives in Kernersville with his wife Liss, two sons, Wayne and Willie, and three daughters, Kaitlyn, Michaela and Hannah.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.