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Ruafika Cobb named Western Region Principal of the Year

When we say there’s #NoPlaceLikeJones, we certainly mean it! Asheville City Schools is proud to announce that Ira B. Jones Elementary School Principal Ruafika Cobb has been named Western Region 2023 Principal of the Year!

Ms. Cobb will be one of just a handful of school principals from across the state competing for the title of 2023 North Carolina Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year Award was introduced in 1984 to recognize the role of the principal in establishing an environment conducive to the pursuit and achievement of academic excellence in North Carolina’s schools. The person serves as the North Carolina ambassador for the state’s approximately 2,500 principals.

Ms. Cobb heard the surprising news this morning in front of the whole school. Her family, district leaders, Amy Laughter, regional education facilitator for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and the state’s current Principal of the Year, Dr. Patrick Greene were on hand for the exciting announcement. 

Mrs. Cobb’s teaching career began in 2000 with the Rialto Unified School District in San Bernardino County, CA, where she taught pre-Algebra and Earth, Life, and Physical Science in grades 6-8. She joined the Cougar Family in 2005 as a math teacher at Asheville Middle School. She quickly took on a leadership role to ensure equitable access to the mathematics curriculum by developing and implementing an after-school and Saturday math program called The Algebra Academy. It was designed to assist students of color in mastering Algebra -- considered the gateway to higher-level math courses and a predictor of college attendance. 

In 2010, Mrs. Cobb became the math coach at Hall Fletcher Elementary School and was named their assistant principal in 2011. In 2014, she moved to Isaac Dickson Elementary School as assistant principal, and became an assistant principal at Asheville High School in 2018. She was named principal of Ira B. Jones Elementary School in 2019. 

Cobb is currently working on her Doctorate Degree at Western Carolina University. 

“This is just wonderful news,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Causby, “Having the Principal of the Year for the Western Region be from Asheville City Schools just speaks to the tremendous work all the staff in the district do every single day. Principal Cobb is a wonderful leader and is so very deserving of this honor.” 

The interview process for NC Principal of the Year will begin on March 17th. 

We are so proud of Mrs. Ruafika Cobb and are very grateful that she is a member of the Cougar Family.