10/02/07 — Celia James named Principal of the Year

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Celia James named Principal of the Year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 2, 2007 1:59 PM

For the second time in eight years, Meadow Lane Elementary School principal Celia James has been named Wayne County Public Schools' "Wachovia Principal of the Year."

Mrs. James has more than 34 years experience in education. She began her career in 1973 as a teacher in Fort Myers, Fla. She came to Wayne County in 1980, as a teacher at Pikeville Elementary.

She shifted into administration in 1986, as an assistant principal at Rosewood Elementary for three years. After a two-year break, she returned to teaching at Norwayne Middle School and in 1993, was named assistant principal there.

Her first assignment as a principal was at Fremont STARS Elementary. She has been principal at Meadow Lane since 2000.

In her years with the school system, she has earned several honors. She was named Pikeville Elementary Teacher of the Year in 1982; earned Outstanding School Improvement Project for the Principal's Executive Program; was Principal of the Year in 1999; and Wayne County Association of Educational Office Professionals Administrator of the Year in 2005.

In 2006, Mrs. James received the Superintendent's Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship from St. Tammany Parish, La., for her school's generosity and support following Hurricane Katrina. Meadow Lane had adopted Folsom Elementary School there after it was severely damaged by the hurricane, raising $2,500 to aid in the rebuilding of the school and sent books, musical instruments and other classroom resources.

"Mrs. James is a true educator who advocates for her students and staff every day," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "(She) is most deserving of this honor. She has the respect of her peers and will be an excellent representative of our school system as she moves forward into the regional competition."

This is the 24th year Wachovia Bank has sponsored the financial award program. At the local level, principals receive $200. Regional recipients receive $1,500 for their school and $1,500 for personal use, with the state's award winner receiving $3,000 for the school and $3,000 for personal use.

Mrs. James will go on to compete with other principals from the eastern region of the state.

She was recognized at Monday night's school board meeting.

"It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues to represent them, and I truly support their support," she said. "I have great respect and admiration for the tremendous contributions that each principal makes to our success as a school system."

She said she was especially proud to represent Wayne County Public Schools, as well as her "outstanding staff" at Meadow Lane.

"My efforts would be in vain without the collaboration and support of our fantastic school family," she said.