Local

Wake promotes one of its own: He rose from Garner grad to principal to assistant superintendent

Garner High School Principal Drew Cook walks with tenth-grader Drake Gaines in this 2011 file photo. On Dec. 18, 2018 he was named the Wake County school system’s new assistant superintendent for academics.
Garner High School Principal Drew Cook walks with tenth-grader Drake Gaines in this 2011 file photo. On Dec. 18, 2018 he was named the Wake County school system’s new assistant superintendent for academics. SHAWN ROCCO - srocco@newsobserver.com

A Garner High School graduate who went on to become the school’s principal is now one of the Wake County school system’s leaders.

Drew Cook was named Wake’s assistant superintendent for academics on Tuesday, with a salary of $128,000. His new job will put Cook in charge of the instructional programs taught to the district’s 160,000 students.

Cook graduated from Garner High in 1992 and returned to the school as a teacher in 1997. He was promoted to assistant principal and later principal of Garner High in 2009.

Cook led Garner High for five years, winning Wake County Principal of the Year in 2011 and becoming one of the eight finalists for North Carolina Principal of the Year.

Since 2014, Cook has been Wake’s senior director of high school programs. He’s been involved with efforts such as helping Wake transition away from naming high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

Cook’s promotion drew praise on social media from people in and outside of the school system.

“Congratulations to @drewcook50!” tweeted Garner Police Chief Brandon Zuidema. “Continuing the good work he started while serving @WCPSS in @TownofGarner.”

Fellow Garner High alum Amy Bare Buchan tweeted that the promotion was “VERY well-deserved!.”

“As a #WCPSS teacher & parent, I am very pleased to know that Drew will be overseeing #WCPSS academics in the new year!” tweeted Bare Buchan, a teacher at Brassfield Elementary School in Raleigh.

Also on Tuesday, the Wake County school system announced that Kendra Culberson will become principal of Fuller Elementary School in Raleigh. She starts on Jan. 14 with a salary of $101,362. Diane Pridgen will remain as Fuller’s interim principal until then.

Culberson will leave her position as principal of Herbert Akins Road Elementary School in Fuquay Varina, which she has held since 2014. Jan Hargrove will serve as Herbert Akins’ interim principal from Jan. 14 to March 29.

Wake also announced that Teresa Abron will serve as interim principal of Alston Ridge Elementary School in Cary from Jan. 3 to Feb. 28.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.
  Comments