Desarae Kirkpatrick, principal of Nebo Elementary, has been selected by her fellow colleagues as the 2018 Principal of the Year for McDowell County Schools.
“It is an honor to be selected as Principal of the Year by my fellow colleagues whom I admire, respect, and appreciate more than words can express,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick began her career in education at McDowell Head Start just after graduating from McDowell High in the summer of 1998, and served with Head Start throughout her college years. In 2002, she was hired as a countywide teacher for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, and also served students in Pre-K. Kirkpatrick left McDowell in 2003 for a teaching position in Madison County where she would serve for three years. She returned to McDowell in 2006 as an assistant principal at McDowell High. She served in that role for the next two years before being named principal of North Cove Elementary in 2008. Kirkpatrick served the community of North Cove until 2012 when she was reassigned as principal of West Marion Elementary. She would serve there for three years before returning to the helm at North Cove in 2015. Kirkpatrick was reassigned to her present post at Nebo Elementary this past summer.
Kirkpatrick attended McDowell Tech for two years and then earned her BA degree from Lenoir Rhyne University in 2002. She graduated with dual licensure in Elementary Education (grades K-6) and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education (grades K-12). She earned her Master of Arts degree in Education Administration from East Tennessee State University in 2006.
Superintendent Mark Garrett had strong words of praise for Kirkpatrick, stating “Desarae has served the students of McDowell County for 16 of her 19 years as an educator. Her passion for her students and staff is obvious. In each of her principal assignments her students have consistently demonstrated academic growth. I am confident that Nebo will be no different. We are very proud of her as our representative in the Principal of the Year process.”
Kirkpatrick said she is “so thankful to have the opportunity to help others, both children and adults, see their value, realize their potential, and rise up from circumstances that are many times very daunting. This is what so many others have done for me as a student and employee in McDowell County Schools.”
She will compete against 20 other principals in Region 7 for a chance to be the Regional Principal of the Year in December. The eight regional principals of the year will then be considered for the honor of State Principal of the Year later in the spring.