Melissa P. Fields
Perquimans Central School
Perquimans County School District
Winfall, North Carolina
Melissa P. Fields has served as principal of Perquimans Central School (PCS), a rural Pre-K-2 grade school serving 400 students in Winfall, North Carolina, for six years, and of Perquimans County High School (PCHS), serving 500 students in grades 9-12, for two years. During her tenure at PCHS, the school achieved an all-time high school performance grade of “B,” a result of Fields’s rigorous approach to data analysis, instructional feedback, and professional learning. Academic growth at PCS has also been driven by Fields’s commitment to equity and inclusion. For example, she recently assembled and led a Closing the Achievement Gap initiative that used collaborative research to determine the root causes of educational disparity for students of different economic and racial backgrounds. She then led the committee in developing a comprehensive plan that included community engagement and program development, as well as internal mentorship, team-building, and professional development, ultimately leading to a reduction in the literacy gap between white and black students and improved proficiency overall. These gains have been supported by a new summer program that Fields has implemented using Nook readers to incentivize reading and reduce “summer slide,” while also strengthening school-family relationships and ensuring students have summer access to food and resources. Fields earned a School Administration add-on credential from Elizabeth City State University, a Certificate of Advanced Study and a Master’s in Library Science from East Carolina University, and a B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education from Mary Washington College.