Lea Credits School for Winning Honor
Union Pines High School principal Robin Lea says her regional Principal of the Year award is an honor for the faculty, staff and students at her school.
"This is really a Union Pines award," she said. "My name is just stamped on it."
Lea received the North Carolina Regional Wachovia Principal of the Year award Tuesday afternoon in Cary. She is among eight regional finalists now in the running for the Wachovia North Carolina Principal of the Year award.
"I knew they were going to announce the regional winner," Lea said, "but I never thought I would get it."
Having spent all 23 years of her educational career in the Moore County school system, Lea has been the principal at Union Pines since 2002.
She has taught at Carthage Elementary, Elise Middle, West End Elementary and West Pine Middle, and she was an assistant principal at Pinecrest High School and principal of Vass-Lakeview Elementary.
Superintendent Susan Purser calls Lea "a dynamo."
"She works around the clock, all week long," Purser said. "She is just somebody who brings the highest level of energy to her role."
The state Principal of the Year will receive $3,000 for his or her personal use, and another $3,000 will go to the winner's school. As a regional winner, Lea gets $1,500 for herself and $1,500 for Union Pines.
Lea is set to go through one more interview at the end of this month, and then a state selection committee will visit the school in mid-March. The winner will be announced in April.
Throughout the award selection process, Lea has tried to highlight the work of all the faculty and staff at the school. She said she's proud of initiatives such as freshman camp, a high school orientation program with New Century Middle, and free tutoring for students facing higher graduation standards.
"This staff goes above and beyond as far as doing what it takes to help kids be successful," she said. "Job descriptions are not that important to us. We may look like organized chaos, but we cross over, and we do what it takes to get the job done."
Moore County boasts having the regional principal and teacher of the year, the first time that has happened.
Bridget Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Vass-Lakeview, received the regional teacher distinction last week. (The Pilot incorrectly reported Wednesday that she was a fourth-grade teacher.)
But Lea and Johnson have another connection -- Lea was ending her term as principal of Vass-Lakeview when Johnson was hired at the school five years ago.
"I interviewed and talked with Bridget," Lea said. "I knew she would be great."
At Union Pines, Lea said she and her staff try to think about school performance in terms of student success.
"We don't please everybody, I'll tell you that," Lea said. "I would be naive to think that every decision I've made would make everyone happy. But we make the decisions here based on what we feel is the best interest of the child."
Katherine Evans can be reached at 693-2480 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story