Principal, Teacher of the Year Advance to State Finals

Patrice Faison and Jennifer Arberg have already been recognized by Guilford County Schools (GCS) for being outstanding in their roles as principal and teacher, respectively. Now they both have been recognized as being among the best in the state.

Oak Hill Elementary Principal Faison learned today that she is one of eight principals across the state to be named a 2011-12 Regional Principal of the Year. As such, she is eligible to be named the North Carolina Principal of the Year. 

Faison, who is in her second year as principal at Oak Hill, believes successful leaders must listen first and act second. She has taken this approach to heart and led two schools toward dramatic, positive change. Faison was appointed principal at The Academy at Smith in 2007, and with the assistance of teachers and parents, transformed the school from low-performing to an Honor School of Excellence with a 100 percent graduation rate. In 2010, Faison became principal at Oak Hill and in her first year raised the school's ABCs composite test score by 19.4 percentage points to become one of GCS' most improved schools in 2011.

Faison first began her career with GCS in 1995 as a third-grade teacher at Stokesdale Elementary. Five years later, Faison received her National Board Certification. She holds master's degrees in elementary education and school administration from North Carolina A&T State University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

"Patrice is one of a kind," said Angelo Kidd, Western Region superintendent for GCS. "She has a special ability to work with people from all walks of life."

Arberg, a sixth-grade math teacher at Kiser Middle, will represent GCS as a Regional Teacher of the Year. She is also a finalist for the North Carolina Teacher of the Year and will move on to compete for the award in May.

Arberg, who uses singing and dancing in her teaching, has been an educator for 15 years. She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Appalachian State University. At Kiser, she started the MathCounts Club, giving her students additional opportunities to build their math problem-solving skills during competitions at other middle schools and on university campuses.

"This whole experience has been an amazing surprise," said Arberg. "I feel very lucky and humbled by all of this."

Faison and Arberg were recognized in September as the district's Principal and Teacher of the Year at the annual Celebrating Excellence in Education event.