Eleanor Macauley


By Dave Russell


It didn’t take long for Fairview Elementary School Principal Eleanor Macaulay to earn recognition from her peers. Two years after taking the reins at Fairview, they voted her the system’s Principal of the Year.

“I’m very fortunate in that I love what I do, so I enjoy coming to work every day and being around the people I am around,”she said. “I always try to make the best decisions for the students, staff and families of Fairview.”

COVID-19 is testing her curriculum knowledge, which she sees as one of her strong points.

Macaulay has hired both a literacy instructional coach and a math instructional coach.

“That has been a game-changer,” she said. “We’ve worked really hard to roll out instructional plans during COVID that will support families and what they need.”

The pandemic is forcing teachers to plan three ways in the school system’s hybrid in-person/remote learning plan.

They have to prepare for students learning in the classroom, those same students when they are learning remotely, and they must prepare for students who are remote only, she said.

“That’s three formats that we’re having to roll out quality instruction for,” Macaulay said. “We also have to make sure families have the other things they need, whether that is food or materials or they don’t have internet, etc. So our student support team is going to be very busy during this time as we try to support not only their educational needs but their needs outside the school setting.”

Macaulay has more than 22 years of diverse teaching and education experience.

She has taught kindergarten, first grade and third grade. She has been a reading recovery teacher, ESL teacher, and lead teacher at Fairview and assistant principal.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and early childhood at Clemson University and her master’s degree in education at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

She holds a reading endorsement from Georgia State University. In 2017, she received a post-masters certificate in leadership from Western Carolina University.

She joined Fairview’s faculty in 2005 as a third-grade teacher and was named Jackson County Teacher of the Year in the 2014-15 school year.

Her family relocated to Sylva in 2004 when her husband, Alex Macaulay, accepted a position at WCU.

He is currently an associate professor in the history department and a published author. The couple lives in the Scotts Creek school district and have four children.

“Congratulations to newly selected Principal of the Year Eleanor Macaulay,” outgoing School Superintendent Kim Elliott said. “We know she will represent us so very well at the regional level. The academic growth Fairview Elementary has experienced with her leadership is phenomenal.”

The principal of the year district achievement is the first in a series of principal of the year events. This fall, school district winners from the western region’s 18 school systems will interview with state officials who will determine the region’s principal of the year. Regional winners will have a chance to bring home some money for personal use and for their schools. After that, a winner from each of the eight regions will compete at the state level, followed by a national competition.