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Award-Winning TFA NC Alum Named Central Area Superintendent for Wake County

Dr. Elena Ashburn, 2021 North Carolina Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Is Appointed by the Wake County Public School System Board of Education to Serve as the Central Area Superintendent

October 26, 2022

RALEIGH, NC–Teach For America alum Dr. Elena Ashburn, former Principal of Needham B. Broughton High School and the 2021 Wells Fargo State Principal of the Year, has been named Central Area Superintendent for the Wake County Public School System—the largest school district in North Carolina. Dr. Ashburn will be joining eight other area superintendents in the district

Dr. Ashburn began her career in education as a member of the 2007 TFA Eastern North Carolina corps, where she taught English at Southern High School in Durham. Since then, she has gone on to serve in a variety of educational leadership roles, most recently as Principal of Needham B. Broughton High School since 2017. Under her leadership, Broughton’s graduation rate achieved a record high of 89.33%, and the school saw significant student growth in English and Biology as measured by state end-of-course exams. 

Dr. Ashburn, who holds a master’s degree in school administration and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from UNC Chapel Hill, was awarded WCPSS Principal of the Year in 2020. She went on to win the 2021 North Carolina Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. 

“Helping parents raise great kids by ensuring they receive an excellent education is a tremendous privilege,” Dr. Ashburn shared in an interview with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction after being awarded Principal of the Year for North Carolina. In her new role as Area Superintendent, she will be partnering with tens of thousands of families to do just that. 

“Dr. Ashburn is driving long-term systems change in North Carolina and has demonstrated how dedication, collaboration, passion, and an equity-centric approach can lead to expanded opportunity for students,” said Dr. Monique Perry-Graves, Teach For America North Carolina’s Executive Director. “Her commitment to the students in our state is an inspiration.” 

Teach For America equips its 2,000+ network members with the skills and development necessary to pursue systems-change leadership in communities across North Carolina. Leaders like Dr. Ashburn and John (Shawn) Stover III, Superintendent of Rockingham County Schools, are working to create pathways of opportunity alongside students, families, and communities in pursuit of educational equity.

About Teach For America Eastern North Carolina

Since 1990, Teach For America has brought nearly 4,000 leaders to North Carolina, working in partnership with communities across the state to expand educational opportunities for students. Each year, Teach For America places and supports 225+ teacher leaders in 9 school districts and charter school networks across Eastern North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Piedmont Triad. These corps members impact over 19,000 North Carolina public school students each year. Moreover, Teach For America North Carolina supports the leadership development of the 2,000+ alumni who continue to live, work, and worship across our great state.