DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Northern High’s Matt Hunt, who began teaching at the school in 2005 and rose to become its principal in 2013, is the 2016 Principal of the Year for Durham Public Schools.
Hunt, an educator from a family of educators, was selected from among five finalists to receive this top honor. He was recognized during a surprise ceremony Monday afternoon attended by students, teachers and members of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.
“Matt Hunt cares deeply about his school community—students, teachers and families alike,” said DPS Superintendent Bert L’Homme. “He is personally committed to Northern’s students, and he knows how to balance all of the ‘soft skills’ of being a principal with an understanding of how to use academic data to support his teachers and improve outcomes. Matt Hunt is a great principal.”
Since becoming principal at Northern, the school has met or exceeded state academic growth standards each year and annual suspensions have decreased by more than 50 percent, the school system said in a news release. Results improved on the annual Teacher Working Conditions survey. The school earned a spot on the Washington Post’s Most Challenging Schools list.
Hunt founded and continues to advise the Young Men of Progress, a leadership program for more than 50 African-American males. He also created the Student Advisory Council, developed and implemented an education leadership course for seniors and initiated the school’s first peer mediation program.
Hunt earned his bachelor’s degree in political economy from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, a master of education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a master of school administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.