May 7—OXFORD — Granville County Public Schools officials formally recognized Courtney Currin as their Principal of the Year during a school board meeting on May 3.
The principal at Tar River Elementary School, Currin said the award is a testament to all of the hard work she, her staff and students have put in over the past year.
"I'm very humbled, honored and still kind of in a state of shock," Currin said. "I can't put into words how much this means to me because it does mean a lot."
A graduate of the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program at Meredith College in 2004, Currin began working in the GCPS system as an English teacher at J.F. Webb High School, earning National Board certification during her eight years at the school.
After earning a master's degree in school administration at N.C. State University in 2012, Currin became an assistant principal at Northern Granville Middle School before stepping up to principal at Butner-Stem Elementary three years later.
Currin's time at Butner-Stem saw the school make strides in educational performance. At tar River Elementary, she is leading the school's transition to what she and other officials term "project-based learning."
She said that one of her goals as Tar River's principal is to make sure all of her students reach their maximum potential.
"Project-based learning is much different than a traditional school project," Currin said. "It's a very in-depth learning experience that's about kids being able to apply skills in real-life. We have kids that have designed zoo exhibits and lighthouses, but they are also incorporating math, science and reading all together into these projects."
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced Tar River and every other school in Granville County to temporarily shift over to remote learning, Currin said her students have not been deterred and have continued to put in a tremendous amount of work despite the circumstances.
She added that the progress Tar River made during the pandemic would not have been possible without the dedication of the staff to make remote learning efficient and promote a professional and safe environment once students were allowed to return.
"I cannot praise my staff enough," Currin said. "Our kids are still growing but even with the challenges this year, the staff has gone out of their way to reach every single one of our kids and make sure they are successful."
With the pandemic starting to wind down, Currin said she is ready to get started on some major plans for Tar River that will keep the school in front when it comes to the future of education in Granville County and North Carolina.
"We really want to go full [project-based learning]," Currin said. "We are also moving towards competency-based education, which involves moving away from grades and moving towards whether or not students are mastering material. We want to make sure every single kid leaves ready for middle school."