Matt Hunt of Northern High School in Durham has been named one of eight finalists for the 2016 North Carolina Principal of the Year competition.
Hunt was chosen as the finalist for the state’s north central region and is now in the running to be named the state winner in May. Hunt, who has been principal of Northern High since 2013, was named last fall as the 2016 Principal of the Year by Durham Public Schools.
“Our eight regional recipients exemplify the high-quality leaders guiding North Carolina public schools,” State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson said in a written statement. “The state’s record-breaking graduation rate is a testament to the relentless dedication they have to ensuring students have the academic skills they need to be successful.”
The eight regional winners will each receive $1,000 for personal use and $1,000 for their schools. A state selection committee will review their portfolios and conduct an extensive interview process before naming the state winner.
Hunt comes from a family of educators. He came to Northern as a teacher 2005 before being promoted to principal eight years later.
When Hunt won Durham’s award, school leaders noted now Northern had met or exceeded state academic growth standards each year since he became principal. Also during his tenure, suspensions have decreased by more than 50 percent and results of the Teacher Working Conditions survey have improved.
Hunt founded and continues to advise the Young Men of Progress, a leadership program for more than 50 African-American teens. He also created the Student Advisory Council, developed and implemented an education leadership course for seniors and initiated the school’s first peer mediation program.
Hunt earned his bachelor’s degree in political economy from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., a master’s of education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a master’s of school administration from the UNC-Chapel Hill.