Educator Profile    Educators

Asia Cunningham (NC '23)


Pearsontown Elementary
Durham, NC

At the time of the Award, Asia Cunningham was:

Pearsontown Elementary
Durham, NC

Biographical Information

Asia Cunningham focuses on data-based strategies where she collaborates with the leadership team to monitor, analyze and develop instructional plans for each student. She sets clear expectations for staff and students and emphasizes the importance of strategic professional development centered around student data and academic growth. Cunningham believes in a whole-child approach, investing in her students’ social and emotional needs to help bolster academic achievement. Under Cunningham’s leadership, Pearsontown Elementary has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School, a National PTA School of Excellence, and a Magnet School of America. 
Cunningham places value on involving families in their children’s academic careers and creates opportunities that allow them to engage in the school community socially and academically, such as “Schoolwide Kid Talk” community discussions, “We are Kings and We are Queens,” a program that empowers young girls and boys to advocate for more equitable practices in schools and become agents of change, and the creation of a Parent Night pep rally for parents and teachers before state testing. Her positive leadership approach has included hosting teacher groups, establishing a support system and connection with the school community for new families as well as creating fun, morale-boosting activities. For example, her ‘Taking Flight’ theme at the start of the new year involved herself as the pilot, along with flight attendants, boarding passes and snack cards to board the airplane – symbolizing togetherness and cohesion of mission on their journey to success.   
Cunningham’s leadership reaches outside of Pearsontown to the district and beyond, where she is actively involved in the community and passionate about building a strong foundation for students and future leaders. She is a North Carolina Principal Fellow and collaborates with the Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance to mentor aspiring principals. She serves on multiple panels that support teachers from various universities in the greater region, is a district principal mentor, a regular speaker at leadership conferences, and has helped write and develop curriculum for Durham Public Schools. 
Cunningham received a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in 2007 from North Carolina Central University, a Master of Arts in teaching from Walden University in 2015, and a Master of School Administration from North Carolina Central University in 2017. 

Press release: Durham Principal Asia Cunningham First in District to Be Honored with North Carolina Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash Prize

Asia Cunningham In The News

LISTEN --> Principal Asia Cunningham Honors Family Legacy with Milken Educator Award Win
WUNC-FM  |  NPR  |  Jan 09, 2024  |  Chapel Hill, N

Warsaw Native Receives North Carolina Milken Educator Award
Duplin Times  |  Nov 30, 2023  |  Kenansville, NC

Called 'The Oscar of Teaching,' Two NC Educators Win National Milken Educator Award
EdNC  |  Nov 06, 2023  |  Raleigh, NC

Durham Principal was Just Surprised with the 'Oscars of Teaching' and a $25,000 Prize
The News & Observer  |  Nov 03, 2023  |  Raleigh, NC

WATCH --> Durham Principal Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award
WTVD-TV  |  ABC  |  Nov 03, 2023  |  Durham, NC

Pearsontown Elementary Principal Named Milken Educator
The Triangle Tribune  |  Nov 03, 2023  |  Durham, NC