West Stanly leader named Stanly County Schools Principal of the Year

In his second year of leading West Stanly High School, Damon Rhodes has been awarded the honor of Stanly County Schools’ Principal of the Year.

Rhodes is in his 19th year as a principal in Stanly County. He was an assistant principal for three years prior in Cabarrus County.

“My experience in school as a student was always positive. I wanted to be able to influence young adolescents as they grow and mature as young adults,” Rhodes said. “My goal coming out of college was to teach, but I decided fairly early in my career that I wanted to go into school administration. As a beginning teacher, I had great administrators who supported me and I wanted to be able to do the same for other teachers as a principal.”

Upon presenting the honor to Rhodes, SCS Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis said: “This principal believes education is about relationships. The key to true student learning is forming a positive relationship between the teacher and the learner. Additionally, this leader believes the staff must model healthy relationships with each other while providing strong, focused instruction and that these relationships are grounded in trust and respect.”

Dennis added: “This principal understands that students will practice in the classroom what is modeled by the staff in the school. This ‘Principal of the Year’ believes that interactions within the school building are the foundation for academic and social success and leads their school based on these principles.”

Rhodes has been nominated for the honor before, but this was his first time winning.

“Being nominated and selected by peers is a tremendous honor,” he said. “I appreciate the award the most because of that.”

West Stanly High is approaching a total of 800 students.

“We try to support the teachers and students to do the best they can each and every day,” Rhodes said. “Everyone has a goal and a purpose and the school is the avenue to these outcomes.”

Rhodes grew up in Stokes County near the Virginia line.

He said his family has been supportive of his career. He and his wife, Leslie, have two sons, Kendrick, 23, a recent graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy, and Kyle, 13, a seventh grader at West Stanly Middle. Their daughter, Emma, 19, is studying accounting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

B.J. Drye is general manager/editor of The Stanly News & Press. Call 704-982-2123.