Bennett Jones, principal of Clayton High School, was selected as the 2017-2018 Principal of the Year for Johnston County Public Schools, and Tracy Vannurden, assistant principal of Benson Middle, was selected as the 2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year for Johnston County Public Schools.
Jones and Vannurden were honored at a special Johnston County Principal/Assistant Principals Association (JCPAPA) breakfast today (Tuesday) at Clayton High during the 2017 Leadership Academy.
“We’ve got to take the time to celebrate the things that are working well in Johnston County Public Schools, and today that is Bennett Jones and Tracy Vannurden,“ said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow.
The Johnston County Education Foundation presented Jones with an award check in the amount of $1,000 ($500 for personal use and $500 for his school) and Vannurden with an award check in the amount of $500.
Both Jones and Vannurden were nominated by their colleagues and students to receive the award.
“Reading the nominations from students, teachers, and peers for this award is better than reading your favorite book,” said Renfrow. “Most nights I would read them over again, and I would find myself tearing up over the same nominations.”
Jones and Vannurden were surprised by their families who were in attendance at the ceremony after they were named the Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year.
“It was amazing to be recognized by Dr. Renfrow, senior leadership, and my peers with this honor,” said Jones. “To be recognized with the Amy Renfrow Leadership Principal of the Year was a tremendous honor. It made it even more special to have my family there.”
The Amy Renfrow Leadership Principal of the Year Award is named after former Corinth-Holders Elementary principal Amy Renfrow.
Jones was described as someone who has changed the culture at Clayton High and instilled a love of learning in students. His colleagues said he is someone who challenges others to build relationships with students and motivates teachers.
“Bennett Jones has done a tremendous job in his first year as principal of Clayton High School. He’s innovative and embodies the tenets of JoCo 2020,” said Renfrow. “He excels in building relationships with students, parents, faculty, and staff. His efforts at Clayton High and the way that he’s been a pioneer for JoCo 2020 was recognized by those who nominated him.”
Nominees said Jones has changed the mindset of Clayton High and brought a new energy to the school that includes a sense of school pride and achievement. He is described as someone with an inspiring vision and an impactful sense of leadership.
“We just scratched the surface of what we want to do at Clayton High, and we’re very excited about the opportunities that are before us,” said Jones. “We want to try new and innovative ways teach students and facilitate instruction. It’s going to be a great year in Comet Country and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
Vannurden is described as someone who is compassionate, caring, hardworking, and student centered. She is known to be someone who builds relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members.
“It’s the relationships that I’ve built that have helped me get where I am today,” said Vannurden. “When I got up on stage and looked out into the crowd I thought about all of the relationships I’ve built. Almost everyone in the crowd was someone who helped me get where I am today.”
Nominees said Vannurden gives 100 percent of herself to students, staff, and parents daily. She is described as someone who always working to improve the culture at Benson Middle and who fosters relationships with students.
“Tracy has a unique and innate ability to forge a genuine relationship with those students who others may dismiss as problem makers,” said Renfrow. “She finds a way to connect with them and encourage them to make good choices on a daily basis. She is truly a great instructional leader for the folks at Benson Middle School.”
Jones and Vannurden will represent Johnston County Public Schools over the 2017-2018 school year as the Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year.
“The recipe for receiving this award is pretty much the same. It’s about getting to know people and building relationships. If we take the time to do that the rest of the things take care of themselves,” said Renfrow. “Bennett and Tracy are great examples for others to follow.”