Glenn Marlow Elementary students and staff have always known they have the best principal in the state. So the only one surprised when Jan King ’92 was chosen as the 2010 Wachovia North Carolina Principal of the Year was King herself. “We knew she was great,” said Natalie Stiles ’85 MAEd ’00, Glenn Marlow special education teacher. “And now everyone else does too.”
King was named Henderson County Principal of the Year and then was chosen for the regional title. The eight regional principals of the year were honored during an April ceremony in Cary, ending with the selection of King as the best principal in the state. “I was very surprised, to put it mildly,” King said hours later as she headed home. “It’s exciting, but it’s also a big responsibility.”
The principal of the year is appointed to the State Superintendent’s Principals’ Advisory Council, serves a one-year term as adviser to the State Board of Education, serves a one-year term on the board of directors for the N.C. Public School Forum and will chair the 2011 Wachovia Principal of the Year selection committee. “Certainly my first responsibility is to my school, my students and the staff, but it will be a fun and exciting challenge to play a part in some of the exciting things going on in our state,” King said.
Superintendent Stephen Page ’68 MA ’73 EdS ’75 said he knew King would take the title. “I was not surprised. The minute they chose her and she became Region 8 Principal of the Year, I said this gal can win it all,” he said. “I say that not just because I wanted her to win, but because I really think she has those kind of attributes that make her a good candidate, and I think they recognized that.”
Page said he called the school to share the news, but Marlow staff had already seen the press release posted by the state Department of Public Instruction. They told students and sent a phone message to parents. At Glenn Marlow, the news brought a smile and cheers to students and staff. “This is recognition of Western North Carolina. We’ve never been recognized. (Jan) worked so hard. It means so much because she worked so hard,” said Janice Goode, a fourth-grade teacher.
“One of the things I’ve heard other people say, and I totally agree with, is whenever she’s talking to you, she makes you feel like you’re the best teacher at the school,” said Teresa Lancaster, a resource teacher. “She makes everyone feel special.”
“We’re very excited,” said Jessica Hudgins, a fifth-grade teacher. “We think she’s going to represent our area. It’s quite
an accomplishment for a principal. We’re proud of her.”
Her fellow school personnel aren’t the only ones who think King is a worthy recipient of the honor – so do those with children who attend Glen Marlow. “I’ve known her for a few years, and I think it’s wonderful she got it,” said Laura Chalfin, a grandparent with a first-grade grandchild at the school. “She deserved it.”
King said the award is really for her students, staff and parents. There are many administrators who wake up every morning excited about going to work, she said, and it will be an honor to represent them as well. King said the selection process, which includes creating a portfolio and a school visit, was very reflective. “It forces you to take a second look at your teaching philosophy and really your school philosophy,” she said.
King has been principal at Glenn Marlow for the past three years, her first position as principal. For the past 17 years, she has worked in the Henderson County school system. She attended Peace College and Western Carolina, where she received a bachelor’s degree in social science education. Her student teaching was done in Henderson County, and she has never wanted to leave.
King has taught at all levels, from elementary to high school. In Henderson County, she’s taught at Dana Elementary, Apple Valley Middle, West Henderson High, Hendersonville Middle, Bruce Drysdale Elementary and Edneyville Elementary. She also served as a high school instructional coach for the four high schools and Balfour Education Center. She was an assistant principal at Hendersonville High.
As principal of the year, King receives $3,000 for her school and $3,000 for personal use.
Reprinted in edited format from the Times-News of Hendersonville.