North Buncombe Middle School Principal Dr. Jamie Johnson was visiting the school’s sixth grade band class on Monday when she heard an unexpected voice on the intercom.
“I’m making a brief interruption to your day for some very big and exciting news,” said BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin, “… I’m very pleased and excited to announce to you that our 2023 Buncombe County Schools Principal of the Year is your principal.”
“I was shocked,” Dr. Johnson said. “It was a very emotional and humbling feeling. The principals in BCS are some of the most amazing educators and people that I have ever met. These principals work endless hours, make personal sacrifices, and give everything they have to their schools, students, and communities. To realize that I was selected by the same people that I hold in such high esteem is an unbelievable honor.”
Dr. Johnson’s peers say she “is a natural leader with a professional demeanor,” that she “is insightful with a heart for kids and a drive for excellence.” She has led North Buncombe Middle to four straight years of exceeded academic growth. She views her role as one of transparency, authenticity, caring, and leading by example.
“We each have a unique skill set, and it’s my job to create an environment where all those skills come together in a way that benefits our kids,” she said. “It is my belief that as educators, we need to do what’s best for kids. We need to help them feel connected to school. If we can help students feel comfortable and successful early on, we increase their motivation to attend school and become part of something. If we can keep them connected long enough, as they mature, they will be able to see an opportunity to build a positive future for themselves.”
Dr. Johnson is a graduate of North Buncombe High School, Mars Hill University (undergrad), and Western Carolina University (master and doctorate). Since beginning her BCS career in 2000, she has been a teacher, coach, and administrator in multiple BCS districts.