Press | New Leader Mentor Principal Named Wachovia Principal of the Year

Charlotte, NC — Nancy Guzman, principal of Sterling Elementary, was named 2011 Wachovia Principal of the Year for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).

Guzman is one of the CMS Strategic Staffing principals, chosen to lead a struggling school. Her 37 years of experience in education have contributed to a new and energized approach that has redefined Sterling. She and her staff have raised expectations and closed the gap in student achievement. The school’s success received national attention when, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, visited the school in September.

Guzman has encouraged staff to become part of a school-wide leadership initiative. She also developed programs to support parent and community involvement in student learning.

“My passion is leading change in low-performing, high-poverty schools,” Guzman said. “I believe that we have the ability and the responsibility to significantly increase student learning, regardless of students’ backgrounds and the conditions in which they live. By taking control over factors that lead to dramatic academic achievement we can find ways around obstacles to change students’ academic trajectory and ensure dramatic academic progress.”

Robert Avossa, chief strategy and accountability officer for CMS supported Guzman’s nomination, saying, “She is a strong instructional leader who not only has a heart to serve, but she embodies strength of action, a collaborative spirit and is always in pursuit of knowledge.”

Guzman received her undergraduate degree from Lander University and a master’s degree from Clemson University. Guzman served as principal of Pinewood Elementary beginning in 1999 and moved to her current position as principal of Sterling Elementary in 2008.

The CMS 2010 finalists were, Mathew G. Hayes, The School of International Studies and Global Economics at Olympic High; Alison Hiltz, Mallard Creek Elementary; Will Leach, David W. Butler High; and Eric T. Ward, J.W. Wilson Middle.

Guzman will now compete with other award recipients from the southwest region of the state. Regional winners will vie for the North Carolina 2011 Wachovia Principal of the Year in the spring. The award is sponsored by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and Wachovia Corporation, a Wells Fargo Company. District winners receive a cash award and regional winners receive a cash award for themselves and their schools. This is the 28th year that Wachovia, a Wells Fargo company, has sponsored the awards.