Bonnie Fusarelli receives award for excellence in public service

RALEIGH, N.C. — Bonnie Fusarelli of NC State University received the 2022 Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service during today’s meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The award honors faculty who exemplify the University’s commitment to service and community engagement. Created in 2007 and renamed in 2013 to honor former Gov. James E. Holshouser, Jr., the award was designed to “encourage, identify, recognize, and reward public service by employees of the University.”

Fusarelli is a professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development in the College of Education at NC State. She serves as executive director of NC State’s Principal Preparation Leadership Academies and as executive director of the Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership program, which is focused on public school superintendent preparation.

“In all of her efforts for the people of North Carolina, it is clear that Dr. Fusarelli maintains a level of grace and respect for the children and citizens she is serving,” said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. “She is passionate about improving the lives of others in our state and views her work to prepare educational leaders as a calling.”

Fusarelli is a champion for school leaders across North Carolina, securing more than $41 million in federal, state, and private funding over the past two decades through 20 grants to support programs for educational leaders in the state. She has nurtured and developed these programs, collaborating with the North Carolina General Assembly and local school systems to address needs for strong principal preparation programs and alternative licensing. Fusarelli has shared her findings with national and international peers, developing a series of principal preparation leadership academies that transformed the state’s educational leadership.

A constant theme of Fusarelli’s work is service to those in greatest need.

Fusarelli has directed a specialized series of NC State Educational Leadership Academies that prepared hundreds of North Carolina school administrators and resulted in leadership plans for high-need school districts. Through these efforts to prepare and retain principals in high-poverty, hard-to-staff and historically low-performing schools, Fusarelli is helping to provide stability for those school districts and communities.

“Every child in North Carolina deserves a high-quality education fostered by leaders who can provide mentorship, guidance and reassurance in the face of challenging circumstances,” said University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans. “Dr. Fusarelli exemplifies this commitment in her teaching, research, and public service efforts. I thank her and congratulate her on this award.”

“Dr. Fusarelli has shown profound dedication to developing leaders who will serve North Carolina students and make a positive impact on their lives,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey. “Today, the principals and superintendents who complete Dr. Fusarelli’s programs have track records that show improved student outcomes at the schools where they serve. On behalf of the Board of Governors, it is my honor to recognize Dr. Fusarelli’s work with this award.”

Fusarelli will receive a $7,500 stipend and a bronze medallion honoring her work.