Surrounded by students, staff and family, Gloria Woods-Weeks was surprised at her school with the announcement that she is the Durham Public Schools 2017 Principal of the Year.
Woods-Weeks has led J.D. Clement Early College High School to a 100 percent graduation rate for each of the past four years, recognition as one of Newsweek’s Top High Schools in America for the last two years, and an A or A+ School Performance Grade from the state for three consecutive years.
“Mrs. Woods-Weeks does such a great job engaging with her students and staff,” Superintendent Bert L’Homme said. “Early College targets first-generation college students – boys and girls who want to be trailblazers and leave high school with college credit already under their belts. Gloria challenges and inspires them in equal measure.”
A product of DPS herself, Woods-Weeks is always at the school early to greet students with a bright smile, a fist-bump and well-wishes for a successful day.
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“She is a great role model for us,” said senior Jayleen Dawkins. “She actually takes the time to write a personal note in all of our report cards to encourage us to do our best.”
Whether she is assisting students who need a little extra help, or encouraging those already doing well to challenge themselves more, Woods-Week takes an interest in each student’s academic achievement, school officials say. She uses data to drive her decisions and sets high expectations for her students.
“Ms. Woods-Weeks cares deeply about our education and always has her door open to us,” said junior Julian Codrington.
Woods-Weeks has more than 20 years of experience in education with 12 years spent in administration, the last four at J.D. Clement Early College High School. She is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at East Carolina University. She has a master’s degree in School Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from NCCU.
The other two finalists for the award were Karen Kellett, principal at Mangum Elementary and Cornelius Redfearn, principal at Glenn Elementary School.
Woods-Weeks will go on to represent Durham Public Schools at the regional level of the state’s Principal of the Year program.