Principle of the Year


Middle College at North Carolina A&T State University principal Eric Hines walked off the stage before he was announced as the Guilford County Schools’ principal of the year at the Excellence in Education event.

“I thought I was the runner up,” Hines said. “When they called out the secondary principal of the year, I didn’t hear the secondary part. Superintendent (Mo) Green had to call me back on stage.”
Once he was called back to the stage, Hines learned he was chosen as the school system’s top administrator. It was overwhelming for him.

“I still haven’t fully grasped what took place,” he said. “I looked out at the audience to see the other principals I’ve learned from and knowing how much we work together to help each other out – it was humbling.”

This is Hines’ fifth year as principal at the Middle College. He has been an educator for 21 years. He started out as a teacher and coach and assumed that’s where he would retire.

“You just never know where life is going to take you,” he said.

Hines’ life took him through various posts as a teacher and coach to being an assistant principal at T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point where he created a school-within-a-school program for at-risk boys. Then life brought him to the all-male, Middle College.

“Nobody gets to where they are without help and I’ve had a lot of help,” Hines said.

“My staff is amazing. We’ve worked together to change how we do best practices in classrooms to build better relationships and our young men perform for us in return.”

Hines also credits his students, their parents and the support he’s received from N.C. A&T.

“This award came to me but it’s not about me – it’s not totally mine,” he said.

This recognition comes on the heels of the Middle College graduating 100 percent of their students in the class of 2012. The school was recognized for that accomplishment and that made Hines’ award sweeter.

“All of this points to every student, every teacher, every parent – we try to do everything with excellence. That group of young men has done it,” he said.

A 100 percent graduation rate is the school’s hallmark and Hines’ is pushing to make it the norm.

“I’m grateful to be in this position with these young men. It’s special to be here on this campus and to be supported by the A&T family,” he said.

As a part of the principal of the year award, Hines received a plaque, $1,500 from GCS and Businesses for Excellence in Education. He will also be eligible for title of 2013 North Carolina Principal of the Year. If he wins, he will be the second consecutive Principal of the Year for North Carolina with ties to A&T. Last year’s recipient was A&T alumna Patrice Faison.