Dr. Kristina Benson Named JCPS Central Office Employee Of The Year

Dr. Kristina Benson, Human Resources Director of Certified Personnel and continues to make an impact on Johnston County Public Schools, even after 19 years with the district. Benson was named JCPS 2022-2023 Central Office Employee of the Year.

SMITHFIELD – Human Resources Director of Certified Personnel Dr. Kristina Benson was named JCPS 2022-23 Central Office Employee of the Year. A 19-year veteran with Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS), Benson has been in her current role for just a year, and in that short time, she has garnered the attention of her colleagues. 

Benson began her journey in higher education at Johnston Community College, then transferred to Barton College where she earned a bachelor degree in social work. As a student at Barton, she interned with an early childhood development program named Parents as Teachers, focusing on special education. “It got me thinking along those lines,” she said. 

Benson began exploring different opportunities and came across a position with JCPS. She was offered a job at Four Oaks Elementary as a special education teacher, where she stayed for six years. A Johnston County native and graduate of North Johnston High, coming back to the school district that she attended was, in her words, “divine intervention”. Growing up in Johnston County, she was excited to get back to her roots. “It’s home,” she said.

From Four Oaks Elementary Benson moved into curriculum as a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Interventionist and Curriculum Coach. However, she didn’t stop there. Benson continued to grow and develop professionally, with a little help from her colleagues. “Along the way I’ve met a lot of great people who’ve dragged me along, taught me the ropes, and taken me under their wings,” she remarked.

In 2012, she was named the assistant principal of Dixon Road Elementary, home of the Dragonflies. After three years, Benson became the principal at West Clayton Elementary where she spent two years. Lastly, she was a Polenta Elementary Puma as principal before shifting to her current position.

Benson loves learning about the human resources side of education and embraces the opportunities to help provide assistance to schools throughout the district. Working with every principal in elementary, middle, and high schools she gets to know them and the needs of their schools. Then, she seeks out the best candidates to match those needs including hiring substitute teachers, faculty coaches, and level 3 volunteers. 

Through her upbringing, Benson became a big proponent of giving back and contributing to those around her. “I’m just trying to make the world a better place in my little zone,” she commented. Her parents led by example, helping others out when they could. Her mom is her hero and inspiration.

Benson watched her mother endure some mid-life difficulties which caused a 180 degree redirection to her way of living. She conquered those challenges with a positive attitude, resilience, and perseverance. She also continued to encourage and push Benson, ensuring she became a productive adult. “She made me who I am,” she said.

Family plays a major role in Benson’s life. She has two adult children, and lives on her family’s land along with her daughter, mom, and cousins. Her son and his family live in Meadow, which includes her nearly two year old granddaughter. They all spend time together going to the beach. When she gets a chance to go by herself to the beach, Benson enjoys simply watching the ocean or reading.

Education plays the other major part of her life, and Benson is passionate about education. “I love what I do!” she exclaimed. Although she was individually recognized for the award and is incredibly humbled and honored, Benson credits the many great educators and colleagues that are part of the JCPS family who work hard every day.

That humility is what sets her apart, and why her colleague Choya Boykin nominated her for Central Office Employee of the Year. “She is a compassionate and competent professional that is focused on meeting the needs of students and staff through rigor, relevance, and innovation,” he said. “Dr. Benson’s winning personality, disposition, and approach to Human Resources is contagious.”