Cole named Hyde County Schools Principal of the Year

[Hyde County Public School System/Facebook]

Leslie Cole of Ocracoke School has been named the 2023 Hyde County Schools Principal of the Year.

Living on an island isn’t for the faint of heart. Mrs. Leslie Cole, Principal at Ocracoke School, can attest that island living is an experience that can be riddled with challenges but deeply satisfying rewards.

Mrs. Cole began teaching on Ocracoke in 1995. As the high school History and French teacher, her passion has always been for the students and the community of Ocracoke.

Mrs. Cole was ready for the next step in her career in 2012 when she became assistant principal at Ocracoke School. In 2013, she graduated from Gardner-Webb with her Master’s Degree in School Administration and in 2017, she took over as principal at Ocracoke.

Dr. Melanie Shaver states, “Mrs. Cole’s can-do attitude, love of students, flexibility, and her sense of humor, ensure that Ocracoke students and families have access to an amazing educational experience.” Mrs. Cole’s reason for doing it, “the students, it’s always been about them.” Even her students know, as Griffin Wells, an 8th-grade student, describes, “Mrs. Cole looks out for

the best for all of her students, she is strict sometime because she cares about us (and we all know it), and she is a really hard worker.”

For Mrs. Cole some of the most memorable moments of her tenure comes from the wreckage that Dorian left behind. Mrs. Cole states, “Seeing the damage that Dorian left in its wake, not just to our community, but our staff member’s homes, our student’s home. “I will never forget walking through the school and observing the water lines.”

The recovery, restoration, and rebuilding has continued since the storm hit in 2019 throughout COVID-19 pandemic. As Ocracoke School prepares for a grand reopening on August 25, 2023, Mrs. Cole has been instrumental in ensuring that the project moves forward with the spirit of Ocracoke Island and Dolphins past and present.

Mrs. Cole also has lots of really good memories, but one of the most recent rewarding moments comes from the first home game in the new gym after Hurricane Dorian and homecoming.

It was a happy moment as the students, parents and community were finally able to be back together in the gym for the first time. In the spirit and tradition of homecoming, the community game’s first score came from one of Ocracoke’s former students Christian Trejo who had missed both his junior and senior year senior year of playing due to the storm, COVID, and injury.

Jeanie Owens, 5th-grade Teacher and Assistant Principal states, “Mrs. Cole has been the leader of Ocracoke School through challenging and trying times. She has done so through dignity, strength, and grace. The most admirable quality about Mrs. Cole is that she is able to connect with everyone. She displays care and compassion to each of us every day.”

Congratulations to Mrs. Leslie Cole, Principal of the Year for Hyde County Schools.