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N-CCS Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year Named for 2015-16



N-CCS Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year Named for 2015-16

Newton, NC — August 12, 2016 — Newton-Conover City Schools is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015-16 awards for Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year, Mr. Shane Whitener and Mrs. Elizabeth Bustle.

shane2Mr. Shane Whitener, currently the Principal of North Newton Elementary School, earned the honor of being selected as the Principal of the Year.  Whitener has served in roles at every level of the Newton-Conover City School district, from the District Office to each school level.  A leader with extensive experience and a track record for success, Whitener has held various positions such as Math Curriculum Specialist, Assistant Principal of Newton-Conover Middle School, and Principal of North Newton Elementary School.

A 1999 and 2006 graduate of Appalachian State University, Whitener holds Bachelor’s Degrees and Physical Education and Math Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in School Administration.  Having spent the entirety of his career in the Newton-Conover Schools, he has directly and indirectly impacted many students and staff.  At Newton-Conover High School, he has coached basketball and track — a skillset he says still proves useful as a building-level leader.  In 2005-2006, Whitener was named the Teacher of the Year for the school district, his last year in the classroom prior to becoming an Assistant Principal at Newton-Conover Middle School, where he led the school to high growth in four of the five years he spent there.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Aron Gabriel’s perception of Whitener’s leadership and vision at North Newton Elementary and beyond is evident in his statement on the recognition.

“Mr. Whitener is very deserving of the Principal of the Year designation for N-CCS. He has an insatiable work ethic and uses data to help inform his decision making. He treats his staff well and shane4supports them in their efforts to serve their students. He has a strong vision for North Newton Elementary and ensures that all of his efforts are aligned with the school improvement plan and district strategic plan. He works well with his Instructional Coach (Jill Hager) and his teacher leaders and empowers them to make decisions to positively impact student performance. Mr. Whitener befriends some of the most challenging students in his building in an effort to build a bridge for them to feel safe crossing. He treats his students as if they were his own children. He has his school on an upward trajectory and with his leadership, the sky is the limit,” Gabriel said.

Whitener’s dedication to the success of his staff, as well as his ability to motivate staff and students to achieve in his role as a leader of learning and and building operations is clear.  As evidenced by these testaments, his reputation with his staff is nothing short of inspiring as well.

“I have worked for North Carolina schools for 25 years. I have worked with many principals during my career. This begins my 3rd year as data manager with Mr. Whitener. He is a wonderful principal. He brings me coffee personally to my desk from the staff lounge that is located down the hall. Mr. Whitener really knows how to take care of his staff,” Gina Styers, Data Manager at North Newton Elementary School, said.

North Newton’s bookkeeper, Monica Lofland, shares Styers’ sentiment.

shane3“I am so proud of Shane Whitener’s selection as principal of the Year.  I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work for Shane at the middle school and at North Newton Elementary.  He is an extraordinary leader, who always puts the success of the students and staff as top priority.  His genuine passion for education shows in his interaction with the students, their families, and his staff.  I am proud to be a part of his team and happier to call him my friend,” Monica Lofland, Bookkeeper at North Newton Elementary School, said.

Whitener’s journey to the Principalship of North Newton, which he began in 2013, stemmed from his passion for student learning and continuous improvement.  His strategy for facilitating this impact?  Beyond problem solving, improving morale, and team-building, the answer lies in building relationships.

“I enjoyed teaching and coaching tremendously, but I wanted to have a larger impact on more students. That is why I became a principal. I love the opportunity to build more relationships with more students and have an impact on the instruction across the entire school building,” said Whitener.

Superintendent Dr. David Stegall wholeheartedly believes in Whitener’s relationship-building model as demonstrated through his ability to lead by example.

“Mr. Whitener has taken the mantra of ‘lead by example’ to a great level. His leadership and work have been the guiding force behind the success that North Newton has experienced the last few years. North Newton’s transition to a Globally Focused, Dual Language School was a huge undertaking. Mr. Whitener’s vision made the transition seamless. North Newton is now a model school for global learning and dual language. I am so proud to work with such a dedicated leader!,” said Stegall.

It’s safe to say that Whitener’s time in Newton-Conover has been time well spent, and his honor well deserved.

Ms. Elizabeth Bustle, currently an Assistant Principal at Newton-Conover High School, has photoearned the distinguished honor of the Assistant Principal of the Year award.  Bustle is the inaugural recipient of the AP of the Year award. chosen by her peers and senior leaders within the school district.

Bustle began her career as a Science Teacher at Davie County High School following her graduation from North Carolina State University in 1999.  After earning her Bachelor of Science Degree as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, Bustle continued to teach for 16 years at DCHS, completing a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University in 2011.

Bustle was also named the Davie County Schools Teacher of the Year not once, but two times in her 16-year tenure as a teacher there.  This award was earned among 150+ fellow eligible teachers within her school.

Bustle’s fellow Assistant Principal, Billy Cannon, has welcomed Bustle to N-CHS with open arms in her first year as AP.

“Ms. Bustle is one of the hardest working people I know. Her work ethic is second to none. She is always willing step up and help others regardless of the task. She has been a blessing to work with and I feel she is a great example of the quality leadership N-CCS has to offer,” Cannon said.

In the short twelve months that Bustle has been a part of the district leadership team, she has had a pivotal impact on the learning culture of N-CHS.  She excels beyond merely completing her duties as assigned, bringing her personal touch to the N-CHS community.

aps-tom“Words can not express how wonderful Elizabeth Bustle is.  Ms. Bustle is usually the first one at school and the last one to leave school.  Elizabeth will do anything and everything you ask her to do even if it’s the last minute ideas.  Elizabeth goes above and beyond all of the tasks that she is faced day by day with, whether it’s making sure all the buses are taken care of to making sure each classroom is prepared for that day.  One thing that sticks out the most about Elizabeth Bustle is that she brings laughter to everyone she meets and she also has a green thumb (which brings beautiful plants and flowers).  I could go on and on about Elizabeth, but one thing is for sure: she is WONDERFUL!   Newton-Conover High School is blessed to have her,” said Paige Smith, N-CHS Receptionist.

Bustle comes to the Assistant Principalship with a passion for and experience in the intermarriage of college and career readiness.  Having spent 16 years working with students and parents as a teacher, she was also selected for and completed a Kenan Fellowship Externship with Ingersoll-Rand in Mocksville, resulting in the publication of “Engineering and Design Efficiency” unit plans on the LEARN NC website, successfully aligning the science curriculum with industry credentials.

“Elizabeth Bustle has been a tremendous leader for Newton-Conover City Schools this past year and has shown her value to the staff and students of Newton-Conover High School. Her understanding of curriculum and her ability to provide support for classrooms has been invaluable. Newton-Conover City Schools are very proud of Ms. Bustle and her accomplishment,” Superintendent Dr. David Stegall said.

Above all, there is no question that Bustle’s honor as Assistant Principal of the Year is well-deserved based upon her history of top-notch leadership as an instructional, community, and operational leader.  This is best demonstrated through every leadership opportunity that she has held in Davie County and even beyond, as both the District Seven Director of the NC Science Teachers Association and an Officer for the Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Society of Women Educators, naming only two.

“Teaching was my career choice since I was in elementary school.  I truly enjoyed teaching a bustle 1variety of high school science classes at Davie High School and preparing students for the science courses they would take in college or the thinking and measurement skills they would need for the workforce.  I also enjoyed taking on leadership roles as an adviser to several clubs, a coach, SIT member, and department chair during my teaching experiences.  When I finished my add on licensure for School Administration in 2011, I had a hard time convincing myself to leave the classroom.  But, I knew that I enjoyed helping teachers achieve goals, advocating for teacher and staff needs, assisting students with all levels and abilities to help them achieve success, working with parents and PTSA organizations, and I like the challenge of organizing exam administrations and major school events,” Bustle said.
Reflecting on her experience as an Assistant Principal in Newton-Conover Schools, Bustle knows that she has found a new home in Newton-Conover High School.
“My first year with Newton-Conover City Schools has been excellent.  I have worked with wonderful teachers, students, staff members, bus drivers, and parents.  The district leaders, Central Office staff members, and my mentor, Julia Styers, have been very helpful to me this year during my first year as an AP.  The transition from the classroom to my new role has been seamless with this level of support from everyone and I am excited to start my second year!,” Bustle said.

Both candidates were selected by their peers for these awards in an anonymous voting process, facilitated via Google Forms.  A new Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year will be named and honored this spring for the 2016-17 School Year at N-CCS’ first ever Staff of the Year Banquet.

Both Whitener and Bustle will be honored, in addition to the 2015-16 Teacher of the Year and the 2015-16 Beginning Teacher of the Year, at a banquet held at the end of September.


Jamie Frye
Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer
jamie.frye (at)
605 N Ashe Ave
Newton, NC 28658


About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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