Meet the Learning Community Principals of the Year


​​Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has named its nine Learning Community Principals of the Year for 2015. ​

Finalists are Marc Angerer, Carmel Middle School, Central Learning Community; Leah Davis, Torrence Creek Elementary, North Learning Community; Tonya Faison, James Martin Middle, Northeast-Vance Learning Community; Dr. Maureen Furr, South Mecklenburg High, South Learning Community; Jan McIver, Thomasboro Academy, Project L.I.F.T. Learning Community; Brandy Nelson, Rocky River High School, East Learning Community; Beth Thompson, Whitewater Middle School, West Learning Community; Kimberly Vaught, Lawrence Orr Elementary, Northeast-Garinger Learning Community; and Kevin Woods, Morehead STEM Academy, West-Harding/Phillip O. Berry Learning Community.

Marc Angerer, Carmel 2015.jpgMarc Angerer: Running for president?​
Marc Angerer has been at CMS since 1998 and his mark on students has been a lasting one. As a first-year teacher at Smithfield Elementary, Angerer talked to his students about the electoral process and how voters can write in candidates. "We talked about the qualities we would like to see in a president," said Angerer. "One student, Jeffrey, said that he would vote for me because he thought I would make a great president."

Leah Davis, Torrence Creek 2015.jpgLeah Davis: 'Nurturing the whole child'​

Torrence Creek Principal Leah Davis was in a professional development session and missed the leadership meeting where it was announced that she'd been named the North Learning Community Principal of the Year. "I was double-booked," said Davis. "I opened my e-mail and found a copy of the PowerPoint with my photo and the announcement. It made me feel validated. We don't do our work for recognition. You're doing it to support students. But when my colleagues, who I think very highly of, go out of their way to recognize me, it feels amazing."​

Tonya Faison James Martin Middle.jpgTonya Faison: 'You're famous'​

On Christmas Day in 2012, Tonya Faison woke up to dozens of missed calls and text messages. "You're famous," friends told her. Faison went to a nearby gas station to get a copy of the local paper. The front page featured a story about Faison and the fact that she'd been named principal at Goldsboro High, a job that she'd dreamed of having for more than  six years. "I took a copy up to the register and the cashier said, 'Is that you?' I said 'Yes, I  didn't plan on being famous.'"


M Furr.jpg​Maureen Furr: The opposite of cookie cutter​

South Mecklenburg High Principal Dr. Maureen Furr doesn't consider herself a rule-breaker, but she does enjoy finding her own way. Growing up with a mother who was a teacher and principal, Furr wanted to create her own path. "There are 1,000 ways to interpret rules and get things done," said Furr. "What I discovered is that I can be creative and do what feels right to me."

Jan McIver Thomasboro Academy.jpg

Jan McIver: Rock star​

After Jan McIver was named Project L.I.F.T. Principal of the year, her students at Thomasboro Academy surprised her with a special ceremony in the media center. She came home with hundreds of homemade congratulatory cards from students that she shared with her nine- and 11 year-old sons. "We sat around and read them together and I teared up, but we also laughed and laughed," said McIver. "One student drew a picture of me at the door of the school saying, 'Good morning. Good morning. Good morning.' That's what I do every morning as car pool and bus riders come in." 

Brandy Nelson Rocky River.jpgBrandy Nelson: 'What we do is powerful'​

One Monday morning in September, Rocky River High Principal Brandy Nelson had what she considers a perfect work day. "Three things happened to me that just reminded me why I do this job," said Nelson. The day began with an encounter with a former student who was dropping his little brother, now a freshman, off for school. The graduate is very talented, but had some struggles when he was in school. "As soon as he saw me, he said he knew I was going to take care of his brother," said Nelson. "It reaffirms that what we do here every day is very powerful. Students who have graduated with difficult circumstances know that we'll take care of them here." 

Beth Thompson, Whitwater MS 2015.jpgBeth Thompson: Chipping away to build success​

Whitewater Middle Principal Beth Thompson was leading a September staff meeting when Learning Community Superintendent Paul Pratt interrupted, surprising Thompson and her staff. "He came barreling in," said Thompson. "He's really tall and has this big booming voice. I knew in my heart he wouldn't come to tell us bad news like that but I was a little nervous about what he was going to say."​ Her instinct was right: Pratt had some great news for her. Thompson was given balloons, a bouquet of flowers and the news that she is the Principal of the Year for the West-West Mecklenburg Learning Community.

Kimberly Vaught.jpgKimberly Vaught: 'Teaching as long as I can remember'​

When Lawrence Orr Elementary opened in August, Principal Kimberly Vaught was ready. She was prepared for the challenges of opening a new school and meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of more than 950 students. Some might say Vaught was born ready. "My mom and aunts say I came out of the womb teaching something, or just being bossy," said Vaught. "I've been teaching, formally or informally, for as long as I can remember."

Kevin Woods.jpgKevin Woods: Great expectations, family tradition​

Growing up in Darlington, S.C., Kevin Woods wanted to be anything but a teacher. He grew up in a family of educators. His mother was a teacher, assistant principal and principal and he wanted to follow a different path. "I wanted to make a lot of money, wear a nice suit every day and work with adults."​ Woods started college at Winthrop University, but would substitute teach at his mother's school during holiday breaks. "Some of the students at the school really needed extra help," said Woods. "I saw great need and I saw an absence of men. There was a P.E. teacher and that was it. I felt like I could make a difference."

To read more about each principal, click here​.​