Special Recognition Award Honoree
During a career that has spanned 30 years, Richard K. Watts Jr. has established himself as one of the state’s most accomplished education leaders.
The Fredericksburg, Va. native first began shaping the lives of young people in 1983 when he landed a job as an eighth grade social studies teacher at Wiley Middle School.
His “no excuses” mantra was well-known to his students, who were driven to excel by Watts’ enthusiasm and motivation.
Watts’ powerful teaching skills did not go unnoticed. By the mid-1990s, he was an assistant principal at Southwest Elementary. Soon thereafter, he was selected to lead Kimberley Park Elementary. He would take the school to its heights, making Kimberley one of the most popular schools in the county. Watts was awarded for his success with his first Principal of the Year Award.
He then took his track record of excellence to the then-brand new Gibson Elementary. After several years there, he made the tough decision to leave the school to take on the monumental challenge of leading the new Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, an innovative middle and high school in the heart of the city’s black community.
Watts has made Winston-Salem Prep an example for other schools to follow. The school has continually had a near perfect graduation rate, and its athletics programs are among the top-ranked in the region. Watts earned a rare second Principal of The Year Award in 2011 for his work at Winston-Salem Prep.
For setting the highest standards for his students, staff and educators everywhere, The Chronicle and the community are proud the give Special Recognition to Richard Watts Jr.