Northampton County Schools recently announced two principals and a program director.

Cyrus Water Sr. has been named principal of Gaston Middle School in Gaston for the upcoming school year.

Waters is a native of Hendersonville. Previously he served as the principal of Washington County Early College High School, and the recently merged Washington County High School in Plymouth, where he and his staff were able to achieve great gains in student academic performance. Prior to becoming a principal, Waters served as the assistant principal at Northern Granville Middle School which also experience consistent academic growth during his tenure.

“As the newly appointed principal of Gaston Middle I am excited to work with all stakeholders including the students, staff and community members,” Waters said. “I believe it takes a village to raise our children. Thus, it will take everyone working together to achieve the goals we have for everyone that enters our doors. My goal as principal is to develop a community that challenges each scholar and educator as we strive daily for continual improvement and growth.”

Waters began his career in education in Wake County Schools as a CTE teacher. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Shaw University while on a baseball scholarship. He holds a master’s degree in Christian Education from Andersonville Theological Seminary, and a second master’s degree in Executive Leadership Studies from Gardner-Webb University. In addition to being a servant leader in the school building, Waters is also a pastor in Creedmoor.

Khrista Simmons has been named principal of Gaston Elementary School in Gaston for the 2020-21 school year. She is a product of Northampton County Schools. Simmons is a believer in the quality of education provided in Northampton County Schools. This is her 18th year in Northampton County. Simmons served as a first through fourth grade teacher, Reading First Coach, Reading Recovery teacher, and an assistant principal. Her vision for Gaston Elementary School will focus on achieving the school’s and district’s goals while closing students’ deficits from the COVID-19 crisis. Simmons is excited about implementing the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) Academy for the newly added fifth graders; fostering learning opportunities for students and staff; continuing a team climate and increasing partnerships with the families and community of Gaston Elementary School.

Amy Lamb Draper has been the named the Career Technical Education and Federal Programs director. She joined the Northampton County Schools in 2010. She started as a Family and Consumer Science teacher and transitioned into the role as a Career & Technical Education (CTE) Curriculum and Instructional Management coordinator and Career Development counselor. She graduated from Barton College in Wilson with her bachelor’s degree and earned her master’s degree in Career and Technical Education from Concordia University in Portland.

She recently successfully defended and completed her dissertation, “Career and Technical Education High School Courses and College and Career Readiness” in April and graduated with her Doctorate in Teacher Leadership.

Draper is passionate about changing the lives of children and is dedicated to moving CTE forward in Northampton County to ensure all students graduate college and career ready.

Her vision is to see all Northampton County students to complete a pathway that aligns with their personal career and/or college goals through intentional course selections, internships and work-based learning opportunities.

Through these efforts, Northampton is changing the lives of children.

Superintendent Pamela Chamblee said, “I am thrilled for the GMS & GES students, staff and community to have an instructional leader, such as Mr. Waters and Mrs. Simmons to come aboard. With their essential leadership skills, I am expecting a seismic shift in student academic outcomes.”