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UCPS to name top principal, assistant principal this week

The finalists for Principal of the Year are, top row, Tom Childers (Walter Bickett Elementary) and Dr. Wendy Gravely (Wesley Chapel Elementary), bottom row, Dr. Kevin Plue (Forest Hills High School), and Sherry Richardson (Rocky River Elementary).

Four Union County Public Schools principals and three assistant principals are in the running for the top spot, an honor that has been a UCPS tradition for 22 years.

The finalists for Principal of the Year are Tom Childers (Walter Bickett Elementary), Dr. Wendy Gravely (Wesley Chapel Elementary), Dr. Kevin Plue (Forest Hills High School), and Sherry Richardson (Rocky River Elementary).

The three assistant principal finalists are Pascale Glenn (Sun Valley Middle), Michelle Gray (East Union Middle) and Dr. Brian Patience (Porter Ridge Middle).

The seven were nominated by their peers. The two winners, to be chosen by a panel of judges made up of UCPS principals, will be announced during the Oct. 2, 2014, Principal of the Year Luncheon to be held at the Professional Development Center (PDC) on Brewer Drive.

It’s quite fitting that this event is held this month as the National Association of Secondary Principals (NASSP) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) have declared October as National Principals Month.


The following are short bios on the four principal of the year candidates:


Tom Childers,  principal at Walter Bickett Elementary, is a North Carolina native who has lived in Union County since 1991. He has served as a teacher and coach at Sun Valley High (1991-1998), and a teacher at Wesley Chapel Elementary (1998-1999). In 1999 he worked at East Union Middle as an assistant principal for one year. Then he moved to Wingate Elementary where he continued to work as an assistant principal for four years (2000-2004).

In August of 2004, Childers moved to Marvin Elementary as an assistant principal and in December 2004 he was named principal for Sandy Ridge Elementary school in Waxhaw.

After six years at Sandy Ridge Elementary (2005-2011), he was named principal at Marshville Elementary (2011-2014). He currently serves as the Principal for Walter Bickett Elementary School of Technology in Monroe. 

Childers is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Winthrop University.

Dr. Wendy Gravely,
the principal at Wesley Chapel Elementary, began her career as a special education teacher in 1984 in Roanoke, Virginia. She moved to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 1992, then became a school administrator with UCPS in 2002.

She was a teacher of the year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the UCPS Assistant Principal of the Year in 2005-2006.

She received a master's degree from Radford University in 1991, and a second Master’s degree in administration from UNC-Charlotte in 2002. She went on to receive a doctorate degree from Wingate University in 2012.

Dr. Kevin Plue, is in his fourth year as the principal at Forest Hills and his 10th year as a principal overall. He spent four years as principal at East Union Middle School (2007-2011) and two years before that at Union Elementary (2005-2007).

He has spent all of his time as principal in the Forest Hills Cluster and said he feels this gives him a unique perspective on the students and community. In total, Dr. Plue has been in public education for 22 years.

He began his career in 1993 as a high school social studies teacher in Georgia. He went into administration in 2002 as the assistant principal at Wesley Chapel Elementary.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Athens State University in Alabama (1989-1993), a master’s from UNC-Charlotte (2002-2004) and his doctorate from Wingate University (2008-2011).

Sherry Richardson, principal at Rocky River Elementary, is a Union County native. She began teaching elementary school in 1993 after graduating from Wingate University.

She taught third, fourth and fifth grades throughout her teaching career. She was a Principal Fellow at UNC-Charlotte and graduated with her master’s of School Administration and Curriculum and Instruction in 2003.

Her first administrative role was as assistant principal of Indian Trail Elementary from 2002-2006. She served as principal of Indian Trail Elementary from 2006-2010. She is currently in her fifth year as principal of Rocky River Elementary School.

The following are short bios on the assistant principal of the year candidates:

Pascale Glenn, an assistant principal at Sun Valley Middle, began her career in education in 1993 in New York. Fluent in both Spanish and French, she became an elementary school teacher in New York in 1998, then took a position as an elementary school teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2000, and then with Cabarrus County Schools in 2003. She became an assistant principal at Sun Valley Middle School in 2006.

She got a bachelor’s degree from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York, a master’s from Adelphi University in New York in 1995, a master’s in school administration from Gardner-Webb University in 2005.

In 2008 she graduated from the Leadership Program for Aspiring Principals at UNC-CH and is currently enrolled in the doctorate program with Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs.


Michelle Gray, an assistant principal at East Union Middle, began her career in education in 1986, teaching for 17 years in community and technical colleges.

After transitioning to middle school in 2001 and earning National Board certification, she moved to UCPS to become an assistant principal in 2008.

Ms. Gray spent three years at Weddington Middle School, and became part of the East Union Middle School administration in 2011.

She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and earned a post-master’s certificate in school administration from UNC-Charlotte.

Dr. Brian Patience, an assistant principal with Porter Ridge Middle, began his career in education in 1997 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a sixth-grade teacher.

After completing the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program in 2003, he became an assistant principal with Union County Public Schools.

He got his bachelor’s degree in 1996 and his first master’s degree in 1998, both from State University of New York College at Cortland, and his second master’s degree from the UNC-Charlotte (2003).

He got his specialist in education degree from UNC-G in 2009 and his doctorate of education from UNC-G in 2012.


Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Sep 26, 2014 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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