Rebecca Johnson Mastin, named Wilkes County school principal of the year Monday night at the Stone Family Center for Performing Arts in North Wilkesboro, is known for putting her concern for students into action in ways that benefit their overall welfare.
As principal at Moravian Falls Elementary School from 2006-2009 and now in her second year at Mulberry Elementary, she forged partnerships with churches, businesses, civic groups, parents and others to raise money and other support of efforts that addressed various needs of students.
“She has such a strong vision of what she wants to be to help meet needs of students, away from school as well as at school,” said Dr. Steve Laws, Wilkes school superintendent.
“At both schools she became such a valued member of the community,” said Laws.
Penny Musson, school nurse at Mulberry Elementary, said Mrs. Mastin’s concern for the welfare of her students carries over to their families.
“She treats everyone with such great respect,” said Mrs. Musson. “It’s the way she cares for people.”
Mrs. Mastin is also known for how well she works with her staff.
“She has such a wonderful demeanor with the faculty. She has a wonderful way of getting her expectations across well with the faculty and then of making everyone want to do better,” said Mrs. Musson.
Mulberry’s School Improvement Team (SIT) released the following statement about her, “We have greatly benefited from her realistic approach and handling of school and staff issues. Her hard work, example and leadership qualities have brought a positive atmosphere to our school. Many consider one of her greatest characteristics is the advocacy she demonstrates for our students.”
Upon being named principal of the year during an event at the Stone Family Center for Performing Arts in North Wilkesboro, Mrs. Mastin said she was humbled because she was among the best educators in the world.
She thanked Nelta Church for hiring her as a principal at Moravian Falls Elementary in 1994. She also thanked Peggy Bryan for recommending that she become an administrator and Dr. Vicki Hugger for also inspiring her while Mrs. Bryan and Mrs. Hugger were principals at Moravian Falls.
Mrs. Mastin thanked the Wilkes Board of Education and the school system’s central office for its support of Mulberry Elementary.
“Thank you to my wonderful family and my wonderful husband (Eric Mastin) who played with Barbie dolls (with their daughter, Geneva) while I graded papers. Above all, I want to thank God.” The Mastins also have a son, John Tate Mastin.
Mrs. Mastin has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from Elon College and a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner-Webb University. She graduated from Wilkes Central High School.
Her career as an educator began as a substitute teacher in the Wilkes schools in the spring of 1993 and an adult basic education instructor at Mitchell Community College in Statesville in the fall of 1993. She was hired as a full-time teacher at Moravian Falls Elementary in 1994.
This year’s other principal of the year nominees were Sharon Shoupe of Boomer-Ferguson Elementary, Carrie Allen of C.B. Eller Elementary, Joey Ortiz of Traphill Elementary and C. Dion Stocks of West Wilkes Middle.
Each school’s SIT can submit a nominee for principal of the year. A SIT consists of parents and teachers.
A committee composed of a Wilkes school board member, representative of Wells Fargo/Wachovia bank, the previous year’s principal and teacher of the year and a community resident then interview the nominees. The committee also examines resumes of the nominees.
The committee selects finalists and then observes them at work in their schools. The committee also examines portfolios prepared by finalists for the competition.
Mrs. Mastin will now compete with principals of the year from other school systems in northwestern North Carolina for regional principal of the year.
These include the Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Elkin, Hickory City, Iredell-Statesville, Mooresville City, Mount Airy City, Newton-Conover City, Rowan-Salisbury, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Winston-Salem/Forsyth and Yadkin school systems.