Chatham County Schools Board honors district’s principals


PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Schools Board of Education recognized Virginia Cross Elementary School Principal Sarah Estes as the county’s principal of the year Monday night and approved a resolution designating October as National Principals Month.

“Our district is fortunate to have Ms. Estes as part of its leadership,” said Superintendent Anthony Jackson in a district release on Monday. “She fosters an environment where her staff is motivated and collaborative. It’s an educational environment for staff and students that we are immensely proud to have.”

Estes is in her fourth year as principal at Virginia Cross, where she’s emphasized empowering staff to better serve students. Before joining VCE, she served as assistant principal at Pittsboro Elementary for six years and North Chatham Elementary for one year.  

“I am so honored to receive this,” Estes said in the release. “I have been fortunate to have strong support and people with shared vision who have helped me develop what I believe is a really amazing school with equally amazing staff and students.”

During Monday’s board meeting, Superintendent Jackson spoke highly of Estes and the district’s other principals — 11 of which were present for the reading of the resolution.

“I was a principal for a long time, and one of the first things I say to our principals is, I don’t know if I could be a principal today,” Jackson said. “It’s a very different time. It’s a very different period, and they have to be far more creative, far more flexible, far more resilient than ever before. And for that I want to say thank you for the work that you do every single day.”

The board approved the resolution unanimously as a way to honor the leadership of school principals.

“These administrators are critical to the mission of Chatham County Schools and the implementation and delivery of high quality education for our students,” Jackson said. “It has been said that you cannot have a good school without a good leader, and I found that to be true.”

“Just as an addition, y’all do a phenomenal job,” Chairperson Gary Leonard said after making a motion to approve the resolution. “Coming from a teacher standpoint, I got to watch the principals and all the extra things that they had to do, and we just appreciate it so much.”

Other meeting business

• Board members unanimously reapproved its district universal indoor mask policy, in accordance with state law. 

• The board approved the purchase of network switches from Applied Network Consulting Group, Inc. to sustain and upgrade internet access across the district. This project will cost $845,755.91, but will be completely funded through the federal E-Rate program and N.C. Department of Public Instruction reimbursements. 

• The board approved the 2021-22 Budget Resolution as presented by the district, with an initial budget totaling $123.5 million.

“While operating the 2021-22 school year without a state budget, local funding has once again eased but not eliminated current budget constraints with funding in areas such as operations, technology, supplements and capital outlay,” the district’s agenda document said. “Even without a state budget in place, we anticipate slight changes in allotments throughout the year which will be presented in budget amendments later in the fiscal year.”

The News + Record will provide a more in-depth look into the district’s budget resolution next week.

Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at or on Twitter at @HannerMcClellan.


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