Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Program

About the Award

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The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year Award was introduced in 1984 to recognize the role of the principal in establishing an environment conducive to the pursuit and achievement of academic excellence in North Carolina’s schools. This Foundation sponsors the award in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Since the inception of the program, there have been 39 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principals of the Year, 256 regional award recipients, and 3,263 local Wells Fargo Principals of the Year. The Principal of the Year Program recognizes principals at the local, regional, and statewide levels. 

Eight regional finalists are named to participate in the state selection process. The state selection process continues with each regional finalist being interviewed and his/her portfolio reviewed by a state selection committee. The eight regional finalist combine to form the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Cohort. Past NCPOYs serve as a resource for the current cohort. 

The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year serves as the North Carolina ambassador for the state's 2500 principals. The 2019 NC Principal of the Year will serve in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education for a two-year term, Department of Public Instruction, and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Public School Forum.


Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year

Matthew Bristow-Smith

2019 Winner

2019 Principal of the Year Winner, Matthew Bristow-Smith

  • 5 years of administrative experience
  • Past regional teacher of the year 
  • Led Edgecombe Early College High School to high student performance for the last five years
  • Past English teacher at Tarboro High School

We dream big, set goals, implement action steps, adapt as need, measure our results, and start the whole process all over again. We are never satisfied. We are continually improving. When we fail, we learn from our failure, and when we succeed, learn from that success and set new goals.


Thank you to our Sponsors

Wells Fargo is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company that has 283 stores and more than 33,000 team members in North Carolina. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all of its customers' financial needs and to help them succeed financially through its banking, commercial real estate lending, insurance, investment, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance products and services.

Wells Fargo is honored to sponsor the North Carolina Principal of the Year Program and to support the educational initiatives in communities across the state. This past year in North Carolina, Wells Fargo provided more than $35.8 million to nonprofits and schools. These contributions were channeled into areas such as neighborhood revitalization, education, mortgage counseling, small business development, human services and financial literacy. Team members volunteered more than 230,000 hours. Visit a Wells Fargo branch today or wellsfargo.com to learn more about the company.

Wells Fargo and you – together we'll go far.