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James, Bryson Named PCS Principal, Assistant Principal of the Year

James, Bryson Named PCS Principal, Assistant Principal of the Year


Dr. Jennifer James (Innovation Early College High School) and J'celyn Bryson (Ayden-Grifton High School) were selected as the 2023-24 Pitt County Schools Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year, respectively, during a celebration banquet sponsored by the Pitt County Farm Bureau at Rock Springs Center Thursday night.

Other nominees included Chicod School Principal Leslie Hayes and assistant principals Latoya Harvey (D.H. Conley High School), Shontell Lane (Wellcome Middle School), Lashonda May (Northwest Elementary School) and Dr. Nader Odeh (Pactolus Global School).

Prior to providing leadership to IECHS when its doors initially opened on the East Carolina University campus in August of 2018, Dr. James served five years as principal at Stokes School. She began her PCS career in education as a teacher at North Pitt High School in 2006 before transitioning to an administrative role as assistant principal there in 2011. A three-time ECU graduate, which includes a Doctorate of Education, Dr. James has been an educator for 17 years, nine of which are as a top campus administrator.

Bryson has served as an assistant principal at AGHS since 2021 and began her educational career nine years ago. She initially joined Pitt County Schools as a teacher, also at Ayden-Grifton, in 2017. After earning a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Old Dominion University, Bryson followed with a master's in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University.

"It is essential to have strong leaders in our schools who provide a lasting impact to students by creating a strong culture of support and collaboration for our teachers and staff," PCS Superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker said. "We are grateful to have talented and dedicated individuals such as Dr. James and Ms. Bryson represent our district and community with distinction. Both are committed to their educational values and the respect they have among their peers is a testament to that."

Dr. James succeeds Dr. Taylor Matkins, formerly of Pactolus and currently at E.B. Aycock Middle School, who was chosen as the 2022-23 PCS recipient. Bryson follows current AGHS principal Casey Hyatt (Matthis), who was named the system's assistant principal of the year last October while at Grifton School.