Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Program

About the Award

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 40 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principals of the Year, 264 regional award recipients, and 3,364 local Wells Fargo Principals of the Year. The Principal of the Year Program recognizes principals at the local, regional, and statewide levels.

wells fargo logo

The local process begins with each school system selecting one principal as its local Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. The selection process at the local level is the responsibility of the local superintendent or designee. The person chosen as the local Wells Fargo Principal of the Year represents his or her school system in the regional selection process. The regional selection process includes an evaluation of the candidate through a portfolio review and an interview. Eight regional finalists 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 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year serves as the North Carolina ambassador for the state’s approximately 2,500 principals. The 2021 NC Principal of the Year will serve in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education for a two-year term and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Public School Forum.

This selection process is facilitated in each region by Regional Education Facilitators representing the District & Regional Support Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year

Dr. Elena Ashburn

2021 Winner

2021 Principal of the Year Winner, Michelle White
  • 9 years of administrative experience
  • Longwood University (BA)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill (MSA,Ed.D)
  • 2018 Michael Priddy Family Leadership Award & Scholarship for Aspiring Superintendents (UNC School of Education)
  • Presented study on the gender gap in NC Superintendency at the International Women Leading Education Conference in England in 2019
  • Led Needham B. Broughton Magnet High School to achieve the highest graduation rate in the school’s history at 89.33%
  • According to 2020 NCTWC survey, 99% of the staff feels teachers are encouraged to participate in school leadership roles

Every school community has its unique cultural, social, intellectual, and political resources. An important component of the principal’s work is not only understanding these resources but leveraging them to promote student learning and school improvement.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Wells Fargo is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company that has 266 stores and more than 36,500 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, investments, 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 educational initiatives in communities across the state. This past year in North Carolina, Wells Fargo provided more than $24.6 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 230,550 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.