Drexel’s Gravel - Principal of the Year

Drexel’s Gravel named BCPS Principal of the Year
Posted on 10/06/2022
Morganton, NC – Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

Burke County Public Schools has named Drexel Elementary School Principal Jessie Gravel the 2022-2023 Principal of the Year for the district. Gravel’s fellow Burke County Public Schools principals nominated her for the honor, and she was chosen to represent the district at the regional Principal of the Year level following an interview panel session.

Gravel said of the honor, “Burke County Public Schools principals are the best of the best, so it is truly a humbling experience to be nominated by such an incredible group of people. I have learned so much from my fellow principal colleagues and continue to lean on them often.”

Drexel experienced a tragedy last school year with a student death and started this school year with a lockdown due to law enforcement activity on campus. Gravel said “I have been humbled to lead Drexel Elementary School through the good times and the bad. From the lows we have suffered to the highs we have celebrated, I try to lead with a person-first perspective. As a mom of three boys myself, I am proud to consider Drexel's 451 students as my own. All of our shared experiences have further strengthened our sense of family and community.”

Gravel said relationships are so important on students’ education journeys. She said, “As I look toward the future of education, I hope that every student is able to make a positive and impactful connection with a caring adult. I know how important this can be in a student's educational and life trajectory. As we often hear, ‘Every child is one caring adult away from being a success story.’”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “Mrs. Gravel has shown great leadership in her tenure in administration with Burke County Public Schools, and she is very deserving of this recognition from her peers. She is calm under pressure, has great expectations for her students and staff, and has a passion for education. We are excited to have her represent us at the regional and hopefully state levels as Principal of the Year.”

Gravel is a 2005 graduate of East Burke High School and completed her bachelor’s of arts in French from UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2009. As a NC Principal Fellow at UNC-Charlotte, she received her master’s of arts in teaching and a master’s in school administration. She is currently working on her doctorate at Western Carolina University. Gravel started her teaching career as a French teacher at Randolph IB Middle School in Charlotte.

Gravel is the daughter of Brady and Karen Linkous and followed in the footsteps of her mother, who was a teacher at Valdese Elementary School. She is married to Jack and has three boys, Luke, Graham and Mac. Gravel loves pulling for the Tar Heels, anything Harry Potter related, and spending time in the mountains.
Jessie Gravel POY
Caption: Drexel Elementary School Principal Jessie Gravel, center, is this year’s Burke County Principal of the Year. Congratulating her are Assistant Superintendent Dr. Karen Auton, left, Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan and Director of Elementary Education Dr. Brett Wilson. 

In compliance with federal law, Burke County Public Schools administers all educational programs, employment activities, and admissions without discrimination against any person based on gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.