Ferrum College alumna Bernice Cobbs ’98 has been named the 2019 Outstanding Middle School Principal of Virginia. She receives this recognition through the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals for her work at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Rocky Mount, VA, where she served as campus principal from July 2015 to July 2019.
“VASSP is honored to recognize the outstanding work of Dr. Cobbs,” said Randy Barrack, VASSP executive director. “Effective schools are vital to the success of students, and the high expectations demanded by principals and their belief in the capacity of all students to perform is critical in school leadership. The stories of such leadership that we capture in the annual award program continues to impress and inspire all of us.”
“The leadership abilities Dr. Cobbs has demonstrated in Franklin County and throughout the state account for the numerous awards and recognitions she has received all while remaining very humble,” said Franklin County School Division superintendent Mark Church.
Cobbs graduated from Ferrum College in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts and a teaching endorsement. She went on to receive a Master of Curriculum and Instruction from University of Virginia (2002), a Master of Education in educational leadership from Radford University (2007), and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech (2014).
Cobbs’ career with Franklin County Public Schools is extensive and includes roles in teaching, curriculum and instruction direction, and administration. In 2003 and 2004, she was named Boones Mill Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, an award she was given again the next year for the entire Franklin County Public School System. In 2004, she was also named Virginia’s Region VI Teacher of the Year. Cobbs received the 2005 Virginia Lottery Excellence in Education Award and was named a Ferrum College Distinguished Alumna in 2008.
In July 2019, Cobbs accepted a position as assistant principal at Franklin County High School, where she is responsible for supporting the daily operations, management, and instructional leadership for high school students. “First and foremost,” said Cobbs, “I am here for the students and staff, and to work closely with the high school administrators for the overall success of the school.”
True to her humble nature, Cobbs placed the recognition for her most recent award on those she has worked with over the years: “I was really honored to be named 2019 Virginia Middle School Principal of the Year. We all know that anything that is noteworthy is not something that is done in isolation. I experienced how empowered a school can be when everyone works together for the good of the students and the extended community. Even though I was a recipient of the award, honestly the award belongs to all the teachers, staff, students, and families who support the everyday work of Benjamin Franklin Middle School and the Gereau Center.”
Cobbs will be honored at a VASSP dinner ceremony in December 2019, where she will receive the state principal’s ring from Herff Jones.
Cobbs is married to Hildred, who retired from Norfolk Southern Railway. Together they have two grown children: Kimberly of Richmond, VA; and Bradley and his wife Jennifer, of Atlanta, GA.
Read more in this WDBJ7 news article.