Muriel Summers was named the Wake County school system’s 2016-17 Principal of the Year on Wednesday, and Mary Taylor was named Assistant Principal of the Year.
The new honor is the latest accolade for Summers, who has been principal of Combs Elementary School in west Raleigh since 1997. Summers is a national leader in public education who has spoken extensively about teaching leadership skills to students.
Summers helped create the nation’s first leadership elementary school at Combs and later co-authored the book “The Leader in Me.” She has presented in 42 states and nine countries. She has appeared on national television, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Good Morning America.”
Combs has won multiple awards under Summers’ tenure, including being named the top magnet school in the nation in 2006 and 2014 by Magnet Schools of America, a national trade organization.
“Students will leave our school with the skills and motivation to know that only their personal best is good enough for true leaders. Complacency will not be an option for our children,” Summers said in a written statement. “Caring for others, embracing diversity, responsibility, respect, kindness, compassion, integrity and honoring citizenship will be second nature.”
Summers was named the Wake County Principal of the Year in 2001. In 2014, Summers received the William B. Friday Medal of Honor, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a North Carolina educator.
Summers, 60, started her career as a teacher in Anson County in western North Carolina in 1978. She came to Wake in 1992 as a kindergarten teacher at Bugg Elementary School before becoming assistant principal of Wilburn Elementary School in 1994.
Summers will receive a prize package that includes a $1,000 check and will enter the state’s Principal of the Year competition. Combs will receive a $500 award.
Taylor has served as assistant principal at Brooks Elementary School in Raleigh for 10 years. Before that, she taught at Brooks and Briarcliff Elementary. She has been with Wake for her entire 25-year career as an educator.
She will receive a prize package that includes a $500 check.