Three-time Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) graduate Stephanie Ambrose remembers her professional trek in education as a steady, studious climb.

“I worked my way up from a substitute (teacher) to a teacher assistant before becoming a teacher,” she said. “After teaching for many years, I went back to ECSU for a master’s degree in Elementary Education in 2002. In 2007 I went back to ECSU to complete the requirements for a master’s degree in School Administration.”

Ambrose’s first degree from Viking Land was a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1995. Her latest accomplishment is the distinction of 2024 Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Principal of the Year. She’s currently in her fourth year as principal at P.W. Moore Elementary School.

 The honor is one she didn’t expect and it has inspired her to reach for more. 

“I was in shock,” she said. “I could not believe I had been selected by my peers to represent our school district. Now, I will complete the portfolio for the Regional Principal of the Year.”

Among other schools, The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recently recognized P.W. Moore for its academic growth. The school’s vision is to build a foundation that prepares all students to become productive, contributing, and successful members of their communities, Ambrose said.

As the school’s chief, some of Ambrose’s goals include having family night dinners once a month so families can meet with educators face to face, and increasing students’ overall grade level proficiency by 20 percentage points.

"These are just a few of the things we are going to do at P.W. Moore this year,” she said, adding that implementing alternatives to suspension and providing ongoing staff development to support student success are also top of mind.

As an ECSU student, Ambrose says her biggest takeaways were the drive to, “never give up on your dreams. Dream big about your future and push forward every day to accomplish those dreams.”

As a high school student taking college classes, Ambrose’s son, Skyler Ambrose, attended ECSU last semester for a course in American History and a class in Aviation. He enjoyed his time on campus, she said, and experienced ECSU as a staple for every facet of student life. Just like his mom.

“I feel school prepared me with the knowledge,” she said, “but life and working prepare you for the day-to-day ins and outs of teaching and being an administrator.”