Vicki Shipley, principal of Munford Middle School in Munford, Tennessee, was named the 2018 Tennessee Principal of the Year at a state education conference in Nashville in October.
Shipley, who received the award on her birthday, was selected for the honor out of nine district principals of the year statewide. She was chosen for the honor for her long standing record of effective leadership and academic achievement at Munford Middle.
“I’m most proud of the performance that our school continues to make,” Shipley said. “Shared leadership is something I learned from Ole Miss and I think it is still important today. I love to see my teachers be successful and take ownership of it.”
Shipley received her Master of Education degree from the UM School of Education in 1994, while teaching in Southaven. Prior to becoming a principal, she taught English, math, science and social studies at the middle school and high school levels.
“The educational leadership program at Ole Miss was very popular,” Shipley said. “We had several teachers who all wanted to complete their master’s so we did it together. They made it very convenient for people who worked full time to be able to finish.”
Shipley began working at Munford Middle as an assistant principal in 2001 and became principal in 2010. Munford is a Reward school, which means it is ranked in the top 5 percent in the state for achievement. The school has received the highest rank of growth and improvement from the Tennessee Department of Education for the past five years.
“Mrs. Shipley makes such a great leader because her teachers and students want to follow her because she makes them feel good about what they’re doing through her positive reinforcement,” said John Combs, director of Tipton County Schools. “She’s always willing to mentor and share her successes in education with other, too. She is always smiling and thinking outside-of-the-box. Her students have been performing at a high level at her school for several years now and I’m glad she was recognized for her hard work.”
Shipley is responsible for 905 students and 100 teachers at her school. However, her philosophy is to focus on her teachers so they can focus on their students.
“We’re more than just numbers,” Shipley said. “We are about individual children. We want our children to look to our educators and strive to be like them.”
By Kathleen Murphy