Nebo Principal Desarae Kirkpatrick named Northwest Region Principal of the Year

From staff reports

Desarae Kirkpatrick, principal of Nebo Elementary and current McDowell County Principal of the Year, has been named the 2018 Northwest Region Principal of the Year.

Kirkpatrick was notified Monday during a school-wide holiday celebration that included all students and staff at Nebo, Board Chair Terry Frank and Vice-Chair Terry English, Superintendent Mark Garrett and other district staff, and current Northwest Region Teacher of the Year Carrie Franklin.

Kirkpatrick was overcome with tears by the news.

“I am just in total shock at receiving this honor,” she 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 bachelor’s 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, “We are not surprised that Desarae has been selected as the NW Region Principal of the Year. Her passion for her students and staff is obvious to anyone who has the opportunity to work with her. In each of her principal assignments her students have demonstrated academic growth. We are very proud of her as our representative for McDowell County and now also for the NW Region.”

Kirkpatrick stated that she is “so thankful to have this opportunity to help others. This would not be possible without the love and support of my family, and the teamwork and effort of everyone at North Cove, West Marion, and now Nebo. I am so proud of McDowell County Schools and Nebo Elementary.”

She will compete against principals from each of the eight regions for the honor of state Principal of the Year later in the spring.

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