Mooresville Principal Named 2014 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year

Mooresville Middle School Principal Carrie Tulbert today was named the 2014 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year during a luncheon ceremony held in Cary. The Mooresville Graded Schools’ principal succeeds Southside High School Principal Dale Cole (Beaufort County Schools).

State Superintendent June Atkinson commended Tulbert on her selection saying, “Carrie led Mooresville Middle though one of the state’s first schoolwide 1:1 Digital Conversions when very few people in the state had even heard of the term ‘1:1’. Today, her school is a national model for using technology to support instruction. Carrie is a pioneer who believes in the power of shifting school culture, thoughtful planning, and cultivating meaningful and productive relationships among teachers and students. Her colleagues and students have benefitted from her leadership; and I am pleased that others across the state will now have an opportunity to learn from her as she serves as North Carolina’s Principal of the Year.”

In naming Tulbert the 2014 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Carolinas Community Affairs Manager Juan Austin said, “We are proud to add Dr. Carrie Tulbert, principal at Mooresville Middle School, to the list of exceptional principals who have been recognized with this award for their premier performance and outstanding leadership within their school community.  Carrie will make an excellent ambassador for effective administration in public education and we look forward to benefitting from her leadership.” He added, “Our support of this program over the past 30 years allows us to honor great school leaders like Dr. Carrie Tulbert for the work they do to prepare our future generations to compete in a growing global economy.  At Wells Fargo, we share the belief that supporting education is one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future. We know the returns on an investment in a great education far exceed those from the best mutual funds.”

Tulbert credits some of the successes at Mooresville Middle to a focus on school climate and culture. “School culture is a powerful component of education that is often overlooked. Many educational initiatives become pointless because there is a failure to evaluate and proactively develop school culture. As we implemented our 1:1 technology initiative, this became reality for Mooresville Middle School. We have now seen what a difference this intentional plan has made,” Tulbert said.

Tulbert received a bachelor’s degree in English (with grades 6-12 licensure) from Meredith College in 2001, a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner-Webb University in 2006, and her doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University in 2011. During her educational career, she has served as a middle school teacher and an AIG Director and Differentiation Coach in Iredell-Statesville Schools. Before she became principal, Tulbert served as assistant principal of Mooresville Middle from 2008 to 2010. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Wingate University.

In addition to implementing the school’s 1:1 Digital Conversion (in which every student in grades 4-12 has a laptop), she implemented another schoolwide program called Capturing Kids’ Hearts. This program has helped create a school culture driven by student success rather than the traditional “teacher-driven” culture. The program’s focus is to prepare students to be productive citizens who know the importance of building relationships in all areas of their lives. During her time as assistant principal and principal, Mooresville Middle has seen an increase in students’ end-of-grade tests performance composite from 72 percent (2007-08) to 87 percent (2011-12), a decrease in suspensions by approximately 60 percent in three years, and a doubling of Algebra I enrollment with a consistent 98 percent to 100 percent proficiency.

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

  • Northeast Region: Billie Berry, Camden County High (Camden County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Frances Herring, Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School (Lenoir County Schools);
  • North Central Region: Dr. Larry Webb, Eaton-Johnson Middle (Vance County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Robin Calcutt, New Century Middle, (Moore County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Amy Rickard, Morris Grove Elementary (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Brad Breedlove, Monroe High (Union County Schools); and
  • West Region: Brad Richardson, Forest City-Dunbar Elementary (Rutherford County Schools).

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

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Tulbert will receive an additional $3,000 for her school and $3,000 for personal use. She also will receive a scholarship for a 10-day educational tour of China thanks to Education First Tours (EF Tours), a privately-held company that offers a range of education programs from language training, educational travel and academic degrees to cultural exchanges. In addition, Jostens Inc. will give Tulbert a custom-made NC Principal of the Year signet ring and matching pendant.  Jostens’ products include school yearbooks, scholastic products such as class rings and graduation products, and athletic items.  She 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 2015 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 107 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.