• Principal of the Year Bios

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Brendan Elkins, Piney Grove Elementary

Brendan Elkins has served WS/FCS as a principal, assistant principal, principal intern, and teacher since joining the district in 2008. He’s also active in community organizations like the State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board and the Goodwill Baptist Church Youth Council Committee. He’s made the most of every role he’s had and gained a reputation as someone that students and their families can depend on.

“Brendan makes every child feel loved, valued, and respected,” said Piney Grove PTA Member Mashunda Famble. “Everyone is viewed as being important and known. He has a way of igniting the best in a child regardless of the circumstance.”

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Summer Jackson, Southwest Elementary

Summer Jackson has been with WS/FCS for 19 years and has filled roles at eight different elementary and middle schools. She has served as an assistant principal, a principal intern, and a teacher at the first and sixth grade levels, as well as a volunteer in child-focused programs like camp counseling and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her steady hand and wise leadership have been essential to getting Southwest Elementary through challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Her staff knows that she is working in their best interest and that she lets them take ownership of decisions when she can,” said Former PTA President Leslie Hege. “This creates job satisfaction among her staff that is crucial at a time when teachers are often overworked, overstressed, and disrespected.”

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Nancy Martinez, Career Center

Nancy Martinez is a doctor of education instructional leadership who has worked as a principal since 2011. As principal of the Career Center, she is responsible for many of the decisions that shape the state of advanced placement curricula and career and technical education for WS/FCS students beginning to pursue their careers. She’s respected in her community for always striving to make things better at her school.

“During her 3-year tenure at Career Center, she has helped develop or expand over 19 community-based programs aimed at providing our students and faculty with greater opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Science Department Chair Sean Bennett. “Dr. Martinez is an action-oriented leader, who listens to student and staff concerns and takes action to resolve those issues.”

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Thyais Maxwell, Carver High

Thyais Maxwell is one of WS/FCS’ newest principals, having joined Carver just last year, but her experience as a principal and assistant principal reaches back to 2011. Her leadership activities have included service on the Healthy Parent Healthy Child Conference, the Title I Conference, the UNCF District Planning Committee, and the North Carolina Principal’s Network to name a few. She displays a passion for making her school an exciting place to learn and grow.

“She is truly a transformative leader who believes in and models servant leadership,” said North Area Superintendent Dr. Quincy Williams. “Her energy is infectious and her love for her students and Carver is evident in all that she does.”

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Stephanie Sanders, fmr. Morgan Elementary, cur. Wiley Magnet

Stephanie Sanders is the principal at Wiley Magnet Middle School – although she was nominated from Morgan Elementary – and a repeat nominee from the 2022 Core Awards. Her extensive educational background includes work as a kindergarten teacher, an exceptional children’s instructional coach, a curriculum specialist, and an assistant principal. She has demonstrated resilience and adaptability in her role that has made her a rock for the Morgan community.

“While the world of education has shifted as the result of the past two years, the one thing that I do not see waning is Dr. Sanders’ ability to handle change with grace, always bringing people together for the greater good and knowing that everyone is better when we work together,” said Morgan PTA President Lindsay Dunst.