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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: MAY 10, 2004


(Raleigh, N.C.) - A Catawba County principal has received the state's top honor in the 2004 Wachovia Principal of the Year competition.

John R. Black, principal of Longview Elementary School in Hickory, N.C., received the award today in Raleigh during a ceremony at the Cardinal Club at the Wachovia Capitol Center.

"The school's performance is the best indication of the strength of John Black's leadership, and that performance has been exceptional," said John Tate, Senior Vice President at Wachovia and a member of the State Board of Education. "Black's leadership, focus and determination have been key to his success as a principal."

Black was selected from among eight regional finalists across the state. Candidates were interviewed by a regional panel of principals, teachers and professors from UNC-system institutions. On-site school tours were also conducted.

As the statewide winner, Black receives $3,000 for personal use or professional development, and Longview Elementary School receives $3,000 for equipment or materials.

As Longview Elementary School's population has changed during Black's tenure from 4 percent to 35 percent of students needing ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction and from 70 percent to 93 percent who receive free/reduced lunch, he has worked to encourage parents of all backgrounds to become more involved in the school through annual multicultural arts fairs. As part of this process, he worked to establish three new parent committees: one for the Asian community, one for the Hispanic community, and one for the African-American community.

Through this period of change, achievement scores increased substantially, from a 59.9 percent proficiency rate in 1997 to a 77.6 percent proficiency rate in 2003. Math and reading scores both increased, and the achievement gap between black and white students in math has decreased to 2.4 percent in 2003 from 16.3 percent in 1997.

"I believe that students and staff excel when they are part of a close school family, and the principal sets the tone for all this to occur," said Black. "We are a family. Like a family, the members don't always agree on everything. But they support each other, share ideas and work as a team."

Now in its 22nd year, the Wachovia Principal of the Year program is sponsored by Wachovia and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and recognizes excellence among North Carolina's principals.

About Wachovica

Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the largest providers of financial services to retail, brokerage and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation, with assets of $411.0 billion, market capitalization of $61.7 billion and stockholders' equity of $33.3 billion at March 31, 2004. Its four core businesses, the General Bank, Capital Management, Wealth Management, and the Corporate and Investment Bank, serve 12 million client relationships (including households and businesses), primarily in 11 East Coast states and Washington, D.C. Its full-service retail brokerage firm, Wachovia Securities, LLC, serves clients in 49 states. Global services are provided through 32 international offices. Online banking and brokerage products and services also are available through

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.