Press "Enter" to skip to content

Bledsoe honored as Principal of the Year

Cedar Ridge Elementary School and Surry County Schools official gathered at the facility to honor the Principal Donna Bledsoe as the 2023 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year.

Bledsoe was chosen as the Wells Fargo Principal of the Year over nine other candidates from across the state at a luncheon held in Cary in May.

In his remarks Monday, Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves said, “Were here to recognize this great lady as the NC State Principal of the Year; we’re so proud of that.”

Bledsoe, who has been the principal at Cedar Ridge for seven years, said, “This is a very humbling honor. I am very humbled today by your presence as well from our PTO, our volunteer of the year, up to our past leadership — you all played a part in my story, and I appreciate each one of you.”

In their selection North Carolina Department of Public Instructions wrote, “Since becoming leader of the small, rural school in 2016, Bledsoe has cultivated a community with a clear focus on student success, strong faculty collaboration and overall school improvement. In her words, the culture of Cedar Ridge Elementary can be summed up in one word: joy.”

As the crowd chatted in the media center at Cedar Ridge, it was notable how many people came out just for the reception for Bledsoe. Reeves noted, “You got a large group here today who are supporting you, we appreciate all that you do in our school system and have done.”

“It’s an honor for you to represent Surry County Schools but also the state of North Carolina for all principals across the ninth largest state in the nation. This is no small accomplishment; this is a significant accomplishment, one that I know you will take very seriously in the way you represent principals and the way you represent our school system,” he said.

Reeves went on to say, “Ms. Bledsoe will get to serve on the state board of education as an advisor on a monthly basis on all things related to principals, teachers, school leadership, teaching and learning. I think that’s a high honor for yourself and a high honor for Surry County Schools and I know you’re going to do a great job representing.”

“I can’t be more proud of this school, of this staff, of these students, and of this great leader. I know you’re gonna do great things for us at the state level because we know we need it. Thank you for everything you’ve done, we’re proud of you,” Surry County School Board Chair Dale Badgett said.

He told the crowd that emotions ran high in Cary during the awards lunch and Bledsoe was made emotional by the selection. “When she spoke, obviously, you could still see the emotions on the stage. We’re very proud of you and on behalf of the board of education I say thank you.”

Badgett also said while at the awards ceremony he heard from people at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the school board association that Surry County has drawn some attention for the things that are going well in education. He cited State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt as among those who offered praise to Surry County.

Reeves was milling about during the reception but floated by and concurred with Badgett’s retelling. Both Reeves and Badgett said they think the average citizen of Surry County would be surprised to see how well the students of this county are stacking up to other counties — many of which have significantly higher tax bases with which to fund their efforts.

Truitt wrote, “Mrs. Bledsoe and her staff truly have put students at the center of all that they do. It’s one thing to say that and another thing entirely to make it happen, every day, in every class and with every student. It’s clear that Cedar Ridge does. That takes committed and visionary leadership.”

A 2004 graduate of Appalachian State, Bledsoe has spent her entire education career in Surry County Schools starting as a third-grade teacher, then as an elementary school assistant principal before being promoted to principal in 2015. She earned a Master of Arts degree as a curriculum specialist, also from Appalachian State, in 2008 and was selected during the pandemic to be among the first class of 200 school leaders participating in a remote learning initiative.

“We deserve in Surry County for everybody to know the great things that are happening and nothing thrills me more than tell people where Lowgap is,” Bledsoe said adding, “I’m a little partial to the great things that are happening in this building.”

“I look forward to travelling across this state and talking about the good thugs that are happening in Surry County schools because there is so much good. I think we take it for granted that this is the way business is done everywhere and it is because of our current and former leadership that I get to stand here today.”



Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: