Pinehurst Elementary principal receives Science of Reading True Trailblazer Award

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced Ashlee Ciccone, principal of Pinehurst Elementary School, as the first recipient of the True Trailblazer Science of Reading Award. This accolade recognizes Ciccone’s visionary leadership in leading her entire school through the transformational process of embracing the science of reading.

“Ciccone’s remarkable commitment and dedication to improving literacy outcomes have paved the way for educational excellence in our district,” said the school district in a press release. “Before North Carolina initiated its state-wide transition toward the science of reading in early literacy, Ciccone had the foresight to lead her entire school through LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development, which is based on rigorous research.

“The impact of Ciccone’s visionary leadership has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her efforts have not only increased the professional content knowledge of educators but have also catalyzed a profound cultural shift within the school. Most importantly, this transformation has translated into a significant positive impact on K-3 reading data, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to the betterment of her students’ education.”

Key achievements and milestones attributed to Ciccone’s leadership include:

● District DIBELS 8 data (K-1) performing at an impressive 90% proficiency rate at the end of the year

● District DIBELS 8 data (grade 2) achieving an 86% proficiency rate at the end of the year

● District DIBELS 8 data (grade 3) displaying an 84% proficiency rate at the end of the year

● District DIBELS 8 data (K-3) showing an overall proficiency rate of 88% at the end of the year

● All grade levels surpassing the state’s percent proficient standards

● Achieving more growth than the state in grades 1-2 and maintaining the same level of growth in grade 3

● In the academic years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, exceeding growth expectations in reading end-of-grade (EOG) assessments with proficiency rates reaching 72% and 75%, respectively

“Ciccone’s leadership and unwavering commitment to the science of reading have set a shining example for educators and administrators across North Carolina. She embodies the spirit of innovation, dedication, and a deep passion for the betterment of education,” said the school district.

Feature photo: Moore County Schools Superintendent Tim Locklair (left), Pinehurst Elementary Principal Ashlee Ciccone, and school board member Ken Benway.

Courtesy photo/Contributed. 

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