BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University has named Sean Gaillard as the new principal of its Academy at Middle Fork lab school in Walkertown, effective July 1.
Gaillard currently serves as principal of Moore Magnet Elementary School in Winston-Salem. He has more than 20 years of experience in education — as both a teacher and school administrator.
“App State has a strong legacy of preparing educators to lead and serve, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to recognize the promise each student possesses,” App State Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “We have seen strong and steady support from the Board of Governors for the App State Academy at Middle Fork lab school, which is changing the trajectory of young children’s lives.”
“As we renew and continue our partnership with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools through the work at the Academy at Middle Fork, we believe Gaillard will provide the leadership needed to continue the focus on intentionally building a place where students can thrive and learn,” said Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of the Reich College of Education (RCOE).
App State’s Academy at Middle Fork, established in 2018 and located in Walkertown, serves approximately 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grades.
“When I first stepped foot on the academy’s campus, I experienced a sense of belonging — I felt like I had come home,” Gaillard said. “The Academy at Middle Fork is a thriving learning community, and I am thrilled to be part of the teaching and learning of our mini-Mountaineers.”
University of North Carolina System lab schools are designed to provide enhanced educational programming to improve student performance and to plan demonstration sites for the preparation of future teachers and school administrators. Lab schools are a partnership between the UNC System, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, a UNC System university that has a strong educator preparation program, and a local school district.
In addition to the Academy at Middle Fork, App State will open and operate the new App State Academy at Elkin this fall, in partnership with Elkin City Schools. With the opening of the Academy at Elkin, App State will be the only UNC System institution to operate two lab school programs.
About Sean Gaillard
Prior to his current role, Gaillard served as principal of Lexington Middle School, during which time he was honored as the Lexington City Schools Principal of the Year. He has also served as principal of Wiley Magnet Middle School and John F. Kennedy High School, both located in Winston-Salem.
He is passionate about student-centered learning, equity, innovation and culturally responsive teaching.
“I believe in building teacher leadership and community partnerships in service and support of schools,” Gaillard said.
In 2019, he was named the Wells Fargo Piedmont-Triad Region Principal of the Year and served as a finalist for North Carolina Principal of the Year.
Gaillard earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the Catholic University in America in Washington, D.C., and his Master of Arts in teaching secondary English from Trinity University, also in D.C. Additionally, he holds a Master of School Administration from the University of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro.
His writings have been featured in various books on school leadership and music, including the forthcoming “Because of a Teacher, Volume II,” as well as “Evolving with Gratitude” and “Education Write Now, Volume II: Top Strategies for Improving Relationships and Culture.” His work has also appeared in Education Week, PBS NewsHour Extra and the music blog “CultureSonar.”
He produces a blog and podcast, both titled “The Principal Liner Notes.”
Gaillard replaces Dr. Amie Snow ’06 ’14, who has served as interim principal of the Academy at Middle Fork since 2021. Snow will assume the role of director of curriculum and federal programs for both App State lab schools in July.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Academy at Middle Fork
The Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork, located in Walkertown, North Carolina, serves approximately 300 K–5 students. The academy provides a balanced education through the implementation of research-based practices, state-of-the-art literacy instruction, and exemplary classroom instruction and administration. Learn more at https://middlefork.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian State University offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls more than 2,000 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.