NEWTON GROVE — As a principal, Jennifer Daughtry enjoys having a positive impact on the lives of students at Hobbton High School.
For her dedication, she was recently recognized as the 2017-18 Principal of the Year for Sampson County Schools after Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy made a surprise announcement during a staff meeting.
Daughtry is excited about the award and is excited to represent the school district.
“I love being with the kids,” she said.
For Daughtry, that compassion is what being the leader of a school is all about. It’s something she’s seen at the elementary, middle and high school levels of education.
“You see the learning taking place and you see the children growing,” she said. “Each level has its own attributes when it comes to the growth of a child.”
At Hobbton High, Daughtry watches many students become young adults who are ready for college, the workforce or the military. That’s something, Daughtry feels good about.
“You’re having an impact on their life and what choices they’re making for the future,” she said.
She mentioned how the school faces challenges because of limited resources, but the educators still manage to produce quality students. One popular issue is not having a track for student-athletes, although the school produces championship.
“We do the very best we can with what we have,” she said. “I feel that the children that we produce are productive citizens just like the students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County.”
Daughtry began preparing for her in future in the same school she leads today. While attending Hobbton, she was active in Future Business Leaders of America, played softball and was a cheerleader. She’s very proud to be a part of the Hobbton area.
“I was prepared when I left from high school and we’re trying to do the same thing with our students now as they graduate,” Daughtry said. “Coming back home, to contribute to what you were a part of, is a great feeling.”
After graduation, she earned a business degree from Hardbarger Business College in Raleigh in two years. Next, she began working at Hobbton Elementary School, before earning another degree from Fayetteville State University in business administration. From there, she received certification in business education. Later she became an educator and went to Campbell University and received a master’s in school administration.
Before she became principal of Hobbton High, she was the assistant principal at the school in Newton Grove. She also served as the assistant principal at Overhills Middle School in Harnett County and Sampson Union Elementary School.
Daughtry later became principal at Hargrove Elementary School, where she was named Principal of the Year for the Sampson District. This year, marks her second time earning it.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for the second time as principal of the year,” she said.
Now, Daughtry will compete in the fall against other regional principals. If she’s selected, Daughtry will have a chance to represent Sampson County and the region during the statewide competition.
“I’m very honored and pleased that my peers voted for me and I’m very thankful for Dr. Bracy and Central Office staff for supporting all that I’ve done,” she said.
As a longtime resident of the Hobbton district, she enjoys attending Cedar Point Disciple Church, supporting school activities and spending time with her family. Several members attend Hobbton schools, but all of the students are family to her.
Bracy said she loves this school and loves the community. He also said Daughtry is a mentor to others.
“Jennifer is a wonderful principal,” he said. “She treats every child as if they were her own child. She has the interest of every child at heart.”