WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools says Joseph Childers, Atkins Academic and Technical High School Principal, died unexpectedly Sunday night. 

“This is a sad and difficult time for our students, families and the staff at Atkins High School,” said Dr. Angela Hairston, WS/FCS Superintendent. “This morning we shared the news of Joe’s passing with the staff and families of Atkins. Having been principal since 2010, Joe has created a unique, one of a kind atmosphere that promotes learning at the highest levels. His creative thinking, passion for learning, and leadership skills will be sorely missed.”

The district says Childers started working with WS/FCS in 2005 as principal of Hanes Middle School. In 2010, he was promoted to principal at Atkins. He had more than 40 years of experience working in North Carolina Public Schools. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the students who loved and respected Joe, and the staff at Atkins. He was an exceptional leader,” said Malishai Woodbury, WS/FCS Board of Education Chair.

The school system says grief counselors are on-site at Atkins for students and staff. 

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