Elon Alumnus awarded ABSS Principal of the Year

Joe Ferrell '96, principal of Williams High School in Burlington, North Carolina, was named the 2016 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year by the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Joe Ferrell '96, right, has been named the 2016 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year by the Alamance-Burlington School System
The Alamance-Burlington School System has named Williams High School Principal Joe Ferrell ’96 the 2016 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. The award is part of a statewide program co-sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and corporate partner, Wells Fargo.

Ferrell began his teaching career in Person County Schools in 1996, teaching in both elementary and middle grades before being named as an assistant principal of Northern Middle School in Roxboro. He was selected as principal of Hunter Elementary School in Guilford County Schools, then served as principal at Eastern Guilford Middle School for seven years before accepting his current position of leadership at Walter M Williams High School in 2011.

Ferrell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Elon, earned a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina State University and a doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He was nominated by several school staff members for the district-wide award. Common themes among the submissions were his commitment to excellence for all students, outstanding rapport with faculty, parents and students, and his focus on using data to make informed decisions about teaching strategies for student success. In addition, staff members lauded his willingness to listen to feedback to make improvements to benefit student learning and cited the attention Ferrell pays to maintaining the proud traditions, history and culture of the school while working for constant improvement in the services that the school provides to the community.

Ferrell was humbled by the nomination. “That’s the biggest honor of all: that people you work with every day feel you’re deserving of it,” he was quoted saying in a Burlington Times-News article. “I try to never forget what it’s like to be in the classroom.”

Ferrell will advance in regional competition with other school district award recipients from the Piedmont Triad/Central Region of North Carolina. Eight regional finalists across the state will be named, with one principal selected as the 2016 North Carolina Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.