Tears filled William Logan’s eyes Tuesday morning when the Hillside High School leader was named Durham Public Schools’ Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.
Students surrounded him and jumped up and down. They patted his head to congratulate him as if he had just hit a walk-off home run. He tried to speak but no words came out.
“Stunned,” Logan, 38, said of his surprise award. “There are so many great principals here in Durham Public Schools that I have had the pleasure of working with. I was just stunned. I’m so appreciative...Words can’t describe how I feel right now.”
“To have been selected, it is an awesome recognition and awesome responsibility and I am grateful,” he said.
Logan said he almost never cries, but the award overwhelmed him.
Students and teachers said they were surprised he was emotional. They said they were not surprised he won.
“He works wonders for Hillside,” junior Jalon Bethea said. “People always see it as a bad school, and he just changed the whole perception of it.”
Senior Trevion Thompson agreed.
“Dr. Logan is a great principal,” Thompson said. “He understands us. The student body appreciates that because we are able to voice our opinion on issues as well.”
Sakinah McDuffie has spent nine years as a science teacher at Hillside. She said Logan has boosted student morale since his time here.
“He has teachers, students and staff working together for the greater good,” she said.
Deputy Superintendent for Academic Services Stacey Wilson-Norman presented Logan with the award and a $500 check. She praised his leadership and ability to connect with the community.
“We’re very proud of the performance at Hillside under Dr. Logan’s leadership,” Wilson Norman said. “He really believes in this school and in his students.”
Logan started his career as a high school English teacher in St. George, S.C. before relocating to serve as assistant principal at Wakefield High in Raleigh. Logan came to Hillside in 2004 as assistant principal and transitioned to principal at Hillside New Tech magnet program in 2007. He was assigned to Hillside High School in 2012.
Under Logan, the school’s graduating rate rose 5.5 percentage points from 2012 to 2013. to 83.8 percent. The class of 2013 earned more than $5 million in scholarships. Hillside saw an increase in its End of Course proficiency scores from 53.8 to 66.3 percent.
Logan said he’s using the award as motivation to become even better.
“Most importantly (this award) means we have to be more focused,” Logan said. “I have to be more focused in making sure that the goals that we have outlined for the year, that we accomplish those goals, that we’re providing the optimal level of support for our students and making sure that our teachers have the resources and support to achieve those goals.”
“It’s going to be business as usual, but I still really appreciate the honor,” he said.
Logan will now go on to a contest for Region 3 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.