HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 20, 2022) – For the second time in four months, the Edneyville Elementary School Yellow Jackets are buzzing with pride over their principal, Dr. Marsha Justice.
Justice has been named the 2022 Western Region Principal of the Year, surprised Friday by state and local leaders, her family, and bagpipes. In October, Justice was selected as Henderson County Public Schools’ 2021-2022 Principal of the year.
Now, she is one of nine candidates across the state in the running for the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year, an educator recognition program held in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Public Education (NCDPI).
“It was a huge surprise!” said Justice. “Members of the leadership team for Henderson County, Edneyville students and staff, and my amazing family surprised me with this honor. Ken Potter also played the bagpipes – which is celebration, Edneyville-style!”
Amy Laughter, regional education facilitator for the North Carolina Department of Public Education (NCDPI), and 2021 Western Region Principal of the Year Kevin Bradley presented Justice with the honor Friday.
Laughter shared that one of the judges on the 2022 Western Region Principal of the Year selection committee described Justice as “a compassionate and focused school administrator,” calling her “an exceptional school leader who is committed to her school community and all aspects of her life.”
“An inspiring school leader in our community, Dr. Justice exemplifies how a principal can cultivate a school culture in which students, staff, and families feel loved and valued,” said HCPS Superintendent Dr. John Bryant. “She’s humbly served as an example to our local aspiring administrators, and now it’s no surprise she’s the epitome of school leadership for our region. We couldn’t be more proud of Dr. Justice, and we are thrilled to celebrate with her.”
The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year program recognizes principals at the local, regional, and statewide levels, and the annual statewide winner serves as the North Carolina ambassador for the state’s approximately 2,500 principals. The 2022 NC Principal of the Year will serve in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education for a two-year term and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Public School Forum.
As the 2022 winner for North Carolina’s Region 8, Justice will interview for the 2022 NC Principal of the Year in early March, and announcement of the state selection will be made in May.
“I am grateful and blessed to receive the honor of Principal of the Year for the Western Region,” Justice said. “This is more than a job for me; it is a calling. I truly do what I love! It is my honor to represent my school, district, and region.”
About Dr. Marsha Justice
Dr. Marsha Justice joined Henderson County Public Schools in 1997 as a biology teacher at East Henderson High, after earning her Bachelor of Science from Western Carolina University. In 2003, Justice continued her education career in Catawba County Schools, where she again taught biology for five years at Saint Stephens High. She returned to HCPS in 2008 when she was named Assistant Principal at Apple Valley Middle, where she served for 10 years and became embedded in the Edneyville community.
In 2018, Justice was named Principal at Edneyville Elementary and has served in that role ever since – working to continually improve students’ academic growth, fostering a culture of acceptance and leadership, and seamlessly transitioning her Yellow Jacket family into a new school building.
In addition to her undergraduate degree, Justice holds a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.