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2012-13 UCPS top principal, assistant principal to be named

Donna Cook, principal at Rea View Elementary, reacts to being named last year's Union County Principal of the Year. Also pictured, center, is her husband, Bill Cook, director of the UCPS Federal Programs. A new POY will be named in a couple of weeks.

A total of six Union County Public Schools principals and assistant principals are in the running for the top spot, an honor that has been a UCPS tradition for the past 20 years.

The finalists for Principal of the Year are Sam Basden (Porter Ridge High School), Sherry Richardson (Rocky River Elementary) and Steve Wray (Weddington Middle). The three assistant principal finalists are Kim Fisenne (Marvin Ridge High), Kevin Nesteruk (Cuthbertson Middle) and Dr. Kim Vague (Parkwood Middle).

The six were nominated by their peers. The three finalists for principal of the year were whittled down from 20 nominees, while the three finalists for assistant principal of the year were narrowed down after 27 assistant principals were nominated.

The two winners, to be chosen by a panel of judges made up of UCPS principals, will be announced during the Oct. 4, 2012, Principal of the Year Luncheon to be held at the Professional Development Center (PDC) on Brewer Drive.

The following are short bios on the six candidates:

Basden began his teaching career in 1989 and has taught every grade, from kindergarten through college, and has coached everything from women’s soccer to men’s football. His first principalship was at South Stanly Middle School in 2005. He became principal at Porter Ridge High in 2007. He has three degrees – a bachelor’s in education and a master’s degree in athletic administration from East Carolina University, and a second master’s degree in school administration from UNC Chapel Hill.




Richardson has worked with Union County Public Schools since 1996. She was born and raised in Union County and is a graduate of Parkwood High School. She attended Wingate University to pursue her degree in elementary education and then taught 10 years in elementary school. She was named principal of Indian Trail Elementary in 2006 and principal of Rocky River Elementary in 2010.




Wray has been in education for 14 years. He relocated to Union County from Virginia in 2005 after teaching for six years, and has served as the principal of Weddington Middle School since 2008. Wray completed his bachelor’s degree at Longwood University and received his master’s degree in educational leadership from George Mason University. 




Nesteruk is originally from Buffalo, New York. He attended the University at Buffalo, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education. He also played Division I Baseball. He taught elementary and middle school and is now in his eighth year of education, all with UCPS. He became an assistant principal at Cuthbertson Middle four years ago.




Fisenne earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Hobart and William Smith College in New York and completed her teaching degree at Queens University in Charlotte. Fisenne holds a master’s of art in education, administration and supervision and is currently working toward her doctoral degree at Wingate University. She has been with UCPS for eight years. She became an assistant principal at Marvin Ridge High in 2008. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal at Sandy Ridge Elementary, a role she began in 2005.


Vague is beginning her eighth year as an administrator with Union County Public Schools and her 21st year in education. She started at Parkwood Middle in 2010 after having served as an assistant principal at East Union Middle from 2006 to 2010. Before entering the education field she worked for the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources as an epidemiologist. After four years with the state, she began teaching middle school science. She is Nationally Board Certified. She received a bachelor’s in biology and minors in secondary education and sports medicine from UNC at Charlotte; a master’s in school administration from Gardner-Webb University, and recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership at Wingate University.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Sep 20, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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