When Peachland-Polkton Elementary Principal Marty Godwin was voted the local Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, he was surprised. “I felt shock, disbelief, definitely a feeling of humbleness that your peers thought enough of you to get that honor,” he said.
Similar to the Teacher of the Year award, the winner is voted in by his or her peers. While he said he can’t speak for his peers’ criteria, Godwin’s vote is thoughtful. “I vote for the person who I think has made the most impact,” he said.
In a school responsible for the education of approximately 525 of Anson County School System’s roughly 4,000 students, having a positive impact is critical, and Godwin appears to have done just that. When Rep. Larry Kissell visited the school for Read Across America Day in March of this year, he recognized Godwin and the school’s achievements. “It is obvious that Principal Marty Godwin and his faculty and staff are doing an outstanding job with these children,” Kissell said in a release on his site. “The excitement for learning and respect for other people was on display with every student I saw. It was an honor for me to be part of this event.”
Some of the criteria for the award are that the nominee must have held an administrative position for at least four years, the candidate must hold a valid principal’s license, and cannot have been a previous Principal of the Year. Additionally, “candidates should merit the respect and admiration of students, teachers, co-workers, and parents,” according to NCPublicSchools.org. “They should be active, not only in their schools, but also in their communities where they distinguish themselves as leaders. Candidates should demonstrate the ability to improve the achievement of students from various backgrounds and with differing capabilities.”
Wells Fargo financially supports the award in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction. Wells Fargo has recognized principals of the year since 1984; since then, they have recognized 32 state Wells Fargo Principals of the Year, 202 regional award recipients, and 2,590 local Wells Fargo Principals of the Year. The program recognizes principals at the local, regional, and statewide levels; to advance in the competition, the nominee must prepare an in-depth written portfolio for review by a selection committee in each education region, according to NCPublicSchools.org.