NCJH Principal Named Semifinalist for Award

North Corbin Junior High Principal Named Semifinalist for State’s Principal of the Year Award
Posted on 04/22/2022
Carolyn Vosburg Wilkinson, principal at North Corbin Junior High School in Livingston Parish, is a semifinalist for the state’s top Principal of the Year Award.North Corbin Junior High Principal Named Semifinalist for State’s Principal of the Year Award
Fourth Consecutive Year for a Livingston Parish Educator to be Among State’s Semifinalist

Photo-Carolyn Vosburg Wilkinson, principal at North Corbin Junior High School in Livingston Parish, is a semifinalist for the state’s top Principal of the Year Award.

LIVINGSTON, LA – Carolyn Wilkinson, principal at North Corbin Junior High, has been named a semi-finalists for the state’s Principal of the Year award.

Wilkinson is one of 24 principals from across the state, and one of only eight middle school principals, who will be honored at the 16th Annual Excellent Educators Awards Gala in New Orleans on July 30, 2022. The state will recognize the top principals at the three school levels – elementary, middle school and high school; as well as an overall top winner.

The event is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education and Dream Teachers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and rewarding exceptional educators in Louisiana.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that a Livingston Parish Schools administrator has been named a semifinalist for the top principal award. John Hill of Albany Middle School, Bryan Wax of Denham Springs Junior High, and Greg Hayden of Juban Parc Junior High were named semifinalists for the 2022, 2021, and 2020 awards, respectively. Hayden and Hill were later named finalists.

Wilkinson has served as principal of North Corbin Junior High for the past six years. Prior to that time, she served as the school’s assistant principal – coming to the school the year it opened. She was a seventh-grade English/Language Arts teacher before going into school administration.

“My first year as principal was in 2016 when the parish flooded. Our school didn’t flood but was a shelter for families for more than two weeks. Our staff controlled the shelter and fed people who stayed here. It really set the tone for how I have continued to lead,” Wilkinson said.

“Meeting people’s basic needs and attending to their mental health is more important than anything. We’ve seen that again during our management of COVID. People need a sense of connection to be at their best,” she said.

“That’s why I focus on the climate and culture at our school,” she said. “Every child has a place on this campus and in our school community. We focus on building relationships, getting students involved and connected with others so they have a sense of belonging. When all stakeholders connect for a common goals, we see academic gains.”

North Corbin Junior High has improved its School Performance Score by 6.7 points since the 2018 report, showing consistent gains throughout, and despite, the COVID pandemic. At the same time the school was recently named a Top Gains Honoree by the state for its exceptional growth.

“I am most proud of the fact that the work we are doing can change the trajectory of a child forever. We must set our students on a positive path at this critical age, because if we lose them in middle school then it’s not likely that we’re getting them back to their full potential in high school,” Wilkinson said. “Knowing that drives me to do all I can.”

One of Wilkinson’s strategies for engaging her students is the school’s “house system.” Much like the imaginary Hogwarts houses in the Harry Potter series, each student is assigned to a “house” upon entering sixth grade and he or she remains with that group for their three-year tenure at the school. The “houses” include Courage, Excellence, Integrity, Moxie, Wisdom and Virtue.

The six “houses” participate in team building activities within their groups, and they compete against one another in the areas of self-improvement. Points are awarded for grades, behavior, attendance, self-improvement, grit, community service and participation in clubs and school-sponsored activities. A running scoreboard on points earned by each “house” is visibly displayed on the campus.

“It’s proven to be a positive and fun way to let every student know that their participation and success matters,” she said.

Wilkinson said education was not her first career choice out of college, but it’s “pull” won her over. Her mother was a special education teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish, so she grew up seeing the positive impact her mother made in the lives of her students. That inspired her.

After graduating from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing, she transitioned to teaching English to middle school children and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Southeastern Louisiana University. Wilkinson also holds teaching certifications with the Louisiana Department of Education, as well as an Educational Leadership endorsement. She also is an active member of the Southeastern Writing Project and the National Writing Project, which support the premise that those teaching writing should themselves be writers.

Wilkinson is a two-time Livingston Parish Middle School Principal of the Year. She was named the district’s Middle School Principal of the Year for the 2017-18 school year and again for the 2021-22 school year.