Jefferson Elementary School’s Nora Baker is the 2013 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Principal of the Year.
The honor was announced last week during a breakfast sponsored by Truliant Federal Credit Union, which sponsors the award. The other finalists were Amber Baker of Kimberley Park Elementary School; Donna Cannon of Diggs-Latham Elementary School; Becky Carter of Kernersville Elementary School; and Debbie Hampton of Griffith Elementary School.
“Nora is so deserving of this award,” Superintendent Don Martin said at the breakfast. “Her teachers know that just good enough is not good enough. That’s a great tribute to Nora’s leadership.”
Marcia Warren, Jefferson’s curriculum coordinator, said that Baker was successful because of her ability to serve in so many roles: instructional leader, school manager, parent coordinator and colleague.
“The best principals are those that never forget what it’s like to be a teacher and Nora never forgets,” Warren said.
Baker also drew compliments from parents. Kimberly Gentry, a Jefferson parent and PTA officer, said that Baker is a successful principal because she draws on her own experiences.
“Part of what makes Principal Baker so successful is how her experience as a parent and teacher informs her work,” Gentry wrote in nominating Baker for Principal of the Year. “She’s always seeking ways to help her team enhance the classroom experience and stays abreast of current research and the practical application of that research.”
Baker, who has been the principal of Jefferson since 2001, has spent her entire educational career in the local school system. She started her professional life as a chemical analyst for the City of High Point, and then became a science teacher at what was then-Ashley Middle School.
She also taught physics and chemistry at Parkland High School, where she was named Teacher of the Year in 1995. She was assistant principal at Jefferson from 1997 to 2001.
Baker has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Salem College and Forsyth Technical Community College.
Baker has held several leadership positions, including president and secretary of the Forsyth Principals Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Baker will now compete to be named regional principal of the year. Seven regional principals of the year will then compete to be named N.C. Principal of the Year.