A&T GRADUATE PATRICE FAISON SELECTED AS NORTH CAROLINA’S PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR
Two-time graduate of North Carolina A&T State University Patrice Faison has been named 2012 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year. Faison currently serves as the principal of Oak Hill Elementary in High Point, N.C. for the Guilford County Schools (GCS).
When she first took over as principal at Oak Hill, the school was classified as low performing.
“As teachers and administrators, we all wondered who they were going to get as principal. I never knew it would be me,” Faison said.
In her first year at Oak Hill, the school made 19.4% growth in composite score and was the highest for both the district and the state. The increase earned the school the Federal School Improvement grant.
While Faison has been working hard, she credits her success to her class experiences at N.C. A&T, former Dean Leila Vickers, Dr. Karen Guy and Dr. Edward B. Fort, Chancellor Emeritus.
“They saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Faison said.
Faison started her career at A&T as an undergrad but not as an education major. She started out in the School of Business.
“I felt like I wouldn’t make enough money,” she said. “Instead of following my passion, I chose what I thought could make me the most money.”
Though she began her undergrad career at A&T, she ultimately finished her bachelor’s back home at Elizabeth City State University – in elementary education.
“Finishing my undergrad at A&T was just not in my path,” she said.
While a bachelor’s was not in her path, two master’s degrees from A&T were. She returned to Greensboro to take a teaching position with GCS and began working toward National Board Certification.
“I never thought about getting my master’s, only about perfecting my craft,” she said.
While working toward her certification, Faison started working on her master’s in elementary education.
“Dr. Vickers recruited me to work with the National Board project and once I got my certification, I started mentoring teachers,” she said.
While mentoring teachers, Faison realized she had a lot to offer others and it was all thanks to Dr. Vickers.
“It showed me that I could do school administration,” Faison said.
After spending four years at A&T as coordinator and director of the National Board program and a clinical faculty member, Faison went back to GCS in 2007 as assistant principal of Ragsdale High School and from there was tapped to be the lead administrator at the then low performing Academy of Smith. From the Academy, Faison moved on to Oak Hill.
“The superintendent and chief academic officer asked me to go to Oak Hill,” Faison said. “However, it meant a lot that they had the confidence in me and respected me enough to let it be my choice.”
In September 2011 she was named Guilford County’s Principal of the Year and in October she was recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” for the Piedmont Triad region by Business Leader magazine. In January 2012 she was named Regional Principal of the Year for the Piedmont Triad.
Faison is married to Edward Faison, whom she met at A&T. The pair have two sons, Denzel, 20, a sophomore at Duke University and Miles, 14, an 8th grader at Southwest Middle School.