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Courtney Wilburn Named Alabama's 2018-19 Middle School Principal of the Year

by Susie Ellison | Jan 08, 2018

Courtney WilburnAnniston, Ala:  Courtney Wilburn, principal of White Plains Middle School in the Calhoun County School System, has been named 2018-2019 Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year. A panel of judges selected Wilburn from 7 district nominees across the state of Alabama. 

Wilburn has 17 years of experience in the field of education with ten of those years in administration. Since 2011, Wilburn has been the Principal of White Plains Middle School.  Previously, she served as a teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. In 2012, she was named Calhoun County Principal of the Year.

Principal Wilburn has transformed White Plains into a demonstration site for schools across the state to come and observe their practices. Under her leadership she developed co-teaching dyads in each grade level that teach and plan together in order to close the gap between special education and general education students. White Plains is currently the only school in Alabama to have four certified co-teaching dyads. Also, the school has implemented a Safe and Civil School Initiative (CHAMPS) as their positive behavioral support system.

The introduction of standards-based grading (SBG) to the academic system has transformed the school.  The SBG approach is a grading system that has content grades that reflect content knowledge. Students understand what concept they have a hard time comprehending with in subjects, and parents know which concepts their children need more assistance with to bring up grades.

In addition to White Plains being a demonstration site for other schools, Wilburn has been able to develop a data room that is visual, simple, and pushes students’ achievement to new heights. Wilburn trains all principals in the Calhoun County School System on the effectiveness of using data in making instructional decisions. Wilburn serves a mentor principal for three new principals in Calhoun County School System.

Wilburn’s award was announced at a school pep rally January 8. The announcement was a staged surprise. The staff at White Plains Middle School and Calhoun County Schools were invited to bring guests and family members to be a part of the award presentation.

“Courtney Wilburn has done a fabulous job in her time at White Plains Middle School,” stated Dr. Vic Wilson, AASSP Executive Director.  “Under her care, White Plains has grown by every measure, and great things continue to occur.  Her selection as the Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year is a testament to the hard work and dedication she puts in on a daily basis.”

The Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year Award is sponsored by Jostens. The Director of Educational Relations for Jostens, Dr. Bruce Locklear stated, “As a company, Jostens partners with schools to celebrate the moments that matter. This year we are honored to partner with the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals to celebrate and recognize the Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year for their hard work and dedication to their students, staff, and community.  As principals, our work is never done, and often it goes unrecognized. However, we want to take pause and celebrate the successes of our candidates, and the paths they are paving for their students. On behalf of Jostens, congratulations!”

AASSP and CLAS extend their gratitude to Jostens for sponsoring this award program.

Wilburn will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the CLAS Convention on June 12, 2018, at the Mobile Convention Center.  The CLAS Annual Summer Convention is the largest gathering of school leaders in the state of Alabama. She will also be recognized at the AASSP/AAMSP Fall Conference in November 2018.

The Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals is an affiliate association of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).  CLAS is an umbrella association that serves ten different affiliates comprised of Alabama’s public school administrators.  CLAS is dedicated to providing the framework to connect dedicated school administrators and other successful leaders with a network for professional growth and support.  For more information, visit

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Photo: Courtney Wilburn
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