Dr. Eleanor Patrick, principal of Oaks Road Academy, was named the 2020-21 Principal of the Year for Craven County Schools during a surprise announcement on Tuesday. 

As Principal of the Year, Patrick will serve as the local adviser to the Board of Education and will represent Craven County Schools in local, regional and state events.

She was one of six finalists that interviewed with a local selection committee on Nov. 2.    

“Upon my arrival at Oaks Road Elementary I found staff members discouraged and doubtful,” Patrick recalled during the selection interview.

Once there, she engaged staff members in the work of redesigning a school and began putting instructional measures in place to ensure student success.  Within a year, student performance improved in Science and Math proficiency and the school “Met Growth.”

Since then, Oaks Road has consistently “Met Growth” for the last four years.

Dr. Eleanor Patrick

“Although we are not satisfied with growth alone, we understand that student growth is the beginning of reaching greater proficiency,” she said.

“Establishing relationships with family and community members is at the heart of Oaks Road,” she said. “Continuous efforts are made to invite parents and families into the school through events such as Bring Your Parent to School Day, parent Lunch and Learn activities, and our Title 1 Parent Nights.”

Keeping great teachers is at the heart her work.

“What keeps a good teacher at a school are structured, sustained, intensive professional development programs that allow new teachers to observe others, to be observed by others, and to be a part of networks where all teachers share together, grow together, and learn to respect each other’s work,” she said.

This is not her first time being named Principal of the Year. She earned the honor when she was principal at Trent Park Elementary School.

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