HAVELOCK, N.C. (WNCT) — In a surprise celebration on Friday, a local school leader was just named principal of the year for Craven County Schools.  

The principal of Havelock High School, Stacie Friebel, was surprised Friday afternoon by her fellow peers and her students. She’s been working in education for 28 years and just became a principal just three years ago. She was one of three finalists in the county for the honor.

“I did not see it coming. I was actually just extremely honored to even be considered, never ever thinking that I would win. It is, it’s overwhelming,” said Friebel. 

In her new role, she will serve as the local advisor to the Board of Education and represent Craven County Schools in local, regional and state events. 

During the selection process, her school’s slogan “love all, serve all”, drives the work they do at the high school. She also started the “Friebel Focus” newsletter to recognize and celebrate outstanding classrooms and teachers. 

“We operate here as one team. And their success is my success and vice versa. So it felt really good and really special to share that with them,” said Friebel. 

Friebel said being a school leader in the past year and a half has been difficult due to the pandemic, but this celebration is a reflection of all the hard work she and her staff put in.  

“I am surrounded every day by wonderful children and wonderful adults. And I do my very best to serve them every single day,” said Friebel. 

Craven County Schools Superintendent Dr. Wendy Miller said she knew the reception that Friebel was going to get when she came into the gym. 

“I knew the reception she was going to get when she entered this room today, because everyone knows she’s a student, first principal,” said Miller.