Dr. Christine DiGaudio, principal of Ireland Drive Middle School, is Cumberland County Schools’ 2020 Principal of the Year, and Dr. Natasha Brown, an assistant principal at Lewis Chapel Middle School, was named the CCS 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. The winners were made public Oct. 14 at the 2020 Administrators Dinner to honor educators for their leadership and commitment to student success.
DiGaudio, a 21-year veteran educator, began her career as a middle school teacher in 1998 after graduating from the State University of New York’s Buffalo State College. She later obtained a master’s degree from Ashland University, an Education Specialist Degree from East Carolina University and a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
DiGaudio has served as principal of Ireland Middle School since 2013. “Leaders cannot and should not be trusted or respected solely due to their position or title; leaders must earn trust and respect,” said DiGaudio. She now moves on to compete against other local award recipients from the Region IV Sandhills/South Central Region of the state.
Brown has served as an assistant principal for six years. She began her career as an English-language arts teacher at Spring Lake Middle School after graduating from Fayetteville State University. She has since received a master’s degree from Fayetteville State University and an Education Specialist Degree as well as a doctorate from Liberty University. “As an instructional leader, it is my responsibility to ensure that every student has the opportunity to engage in a quality educational experience,” said Brown.
As the CCS Principal of the Year winner, DiGaudio received the Principal of the Year Award from the Cumberland County Board of Education, a cash award, an iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS, an engraved desk clock from Herff Jones, a commemorative Principal of the Year ring from Jostens, two season tickets to the Fayetteville Marksmen Hockey games, a weekend stay at the Embassy Suites Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, a $5,000 check for school use and a $1,000 check for personal use from Lafayette Ford Lincoln.
As CCS Assistant Principal of the Year winner, Brown received the Assistant Principal of the Year Award from the Cumberland County Board of Education, a cash award, an iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS, two season tickets to the Fayetteville Marksmen Hockey games and a $500 check for personal use from Olde Fayetteville Insurance.
Other Principal of the Year finalists were recognized at the event and received cash awards and iPads from CCS. They were Dr. Michele Cain from Cumberland Road Elementary, Christina Tucker from Ponderosa Elementary, Erica Fenner-McAdoo from Howard Hall Elementary, Stephanie Wall Rivers from Montclair Elementary, Shannon Booth from Cumberland Mills Elementary and Reggie Pinkney from Ramsey Street High.
Assistant Principal of the Year finalists were also recognized and received cash awards from CCS. The finalists were Kelly McKoy from Cumberland Road Elementary, Eric McLaurin from W.T. Brown Elementary, Ricky Tucker from John Griffin Middle, Niesha Witherspoon from Jack Britt High and Royvell Godbolt from Terry Sanford High.
Pictured from top to bottom: Dr. Christine Di Gaudio, Dr. Natasha Brown