Best High School Principal & Best High School Coach

Best High School Principal

Matt Wight, Apex High

Matt Wight of Apex High has been at the head of the Maggy class each year since 2012, as readers’ choice for Best High School Principal. As he wraps up his tenure in Cougar country to take on the principal role at the new Apex Friendship High this fall, here’s what he has to say:
Apex High highlights: “There are so many, it’s hard to limit it. But
here goes!

“Hiring Apex grads in teaching positions; VERY cool! MANY sttate championships in sports! Fantastic music and drama performances over the years, in particular the spring concerts at Koka Booth! The Academy of Information Technology being recognized as the top academy in the country! Seeing the students grow from goofy, awkward freshman to confident, thoughtful graduates. Seeing the staff have profound influence on the lives of our students, and seeing our students accomplish incredible things after leaving us. The wonderful relationship with the entire Apex community. Being able to share the high school experience with my two daughters, seeing them play soccer and basketball together, and giving Katie (and Jess, in June 2015) their diplomas!”  

What’s exciting about moving to Apex Friendship: “Tabula rasa — a blank slate. Being able to create a culture from the ground up is a rare and powerful experience!”


Best High School Coach

David Neal, Apex High

Whoever said it’s lonely at the top didn’t witness this close race among local high school coaches! With just 22 votes separating the three honorees, it’s clear that readers love them all.

Clinching the top spot is Apex boys’ basketball head coach David Neal, who led the Cougars in last year’s successful state championship bid. Check out what you might not know about Neal:

2012: Inducted into the High School Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Sanderson High
Stuff of legends: Played for UNC coach Dean Smith, 1994-1995, when the team went to the Final Four

Favorite sports to play: Golf and basketball

Favorite part of coaching: “Working with awesome student athletes and coaches at Apex High, and seeing our teams play hard and play together.”

Elements of a championship season: “Great players, unselfish players who put the team before themselves; clutch shots and free throws; and mental toughness.”

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