NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: APRIL 4, 2013


Chocowinity Middle School Principal Dale Cole today was named the 2013 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year during a luncheon ceremony held in Cary. The Beaufort County Schools' principal succeeds Walter Hines Page High School (Guilford County Schools) Principal Patrice Faison.

In naming Cole the 2013 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Carolinas Community Affairs Manager Juan Austin said,"Chocowinity Middle School's performance is the best indication of the strength of Dale Cole's leadership, and that performance has been exceptional. Cole's work ethic, enthusiasm and caring personality have been keys to his success as a principal. He will make an excellent ambassador for effective administration in public education." Austin added,"Our support of this program allows us to honor exceptional school leaders like Dale for the work they do to prepare our future employees and customers to compete in a growing global economy."

State Superintendent June Atkinson commended Cole on his selection saying,"Dale understands what it takes to be an effective administrator. His strong understanding of the curriculum, effective teaching practices and the importance of collaboration are all hallmarks of an exceptional school administrator. Dale is a wonderful example of the principals we are so fortunate to have leading our public schools."

Cole credits collaboration as a key to a positive learning environment and firmly believes that collaborative teams produce the best results in any given situation."Over the last few years, I have learned that lasting improvements and changes come when consensus is reached by staff on a course where they build the plan and help to hold each other accountable. As principal, it is best to facilitate this process, not take charge of it," Cole said.

Cole received a Bachelor of Science in English from East Carolina University in 1995, and a Master of Science in School Administration also from East Carolina University in 2007. During his educational career, he has served as a high school English teacher and football and baseball coach, a high school assistant principal, and a middle school principal. While an assistant principal, he implemented one of the first Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS) programs at the high school level in the state. He also supervised the creation of a 9th grade academy where he created the first Professional Learning Community for the 9th grade academy teachers. As principal, Cole doubled the number of students taking pre-algebra and algebra classes and expanded the number of classes offered and taken through the NC Virtual Public School. He also supervised the implementation of the PBIS program at Chocowinity Middle School that resulted in a drop of 700 discipline referrals in one year, improved school climate and boosted test scores.

When not doing his job, thinking about his job or talking with others about public education, Cole enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with his wife and three children.

Cole was selected from among eight regional finalists following interviews and on-site visits by a statewide selection committee. The other regional finalists were:

  • North Central Region: Leondus Farrow, Jr., Rocky Mount High (Nash-Rocky Mount Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Elizabeth Rosenbalm, Conover School (Newton-Conover City Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Wesley Johnson, Hobbton High (Sampson County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Lynn Rhymer, Central Cabarrus High (Cabarrus County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Wendy Jordan, Mineral Springs Elementary, (Richmond County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Leigh Jones, Dalton L. McMichael High (Rockingham County Schools); and
  • West Region: Ricky Tipton, East Yancey Middle (Yancey County Schools).

Each regional finalist received $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for personal use.

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Cole will receive an additional $3,000 for his school and $3,000 for personal use. He also will receive a scholarship for a 10-day educational tour of China thanks to EF Education First, a privately-held company that offers a range of education programs from language training, educational travel and academic degrees to cultural exchanges. He will be a member of the State Superintendent's Principals' Advisory Committee, serve a one-year term as advisor to the State Board of Education, serve a one-year term on the Board of Directors for the NC Public School Forum, and will chair the 2014 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Selection Committee.

The Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year program is sponsored in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In its 30th year, the program provides a unique opportunity to recognize outstanding principals from North Carolina public schools.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.