North Carolina’s principals and superintendents have done wonderful work, particularly in the face of the pandemic. Many of these school administrators are Spartans, proud alumni of the UNCG School of Education. Each alumnus has a fascinating story and a unique perspective:
The COVID-19 pandemic created many new barriers for administrators to deal with. Adjustment to rapidly changing regulations, establishment of online education, a higher level of support necessary for the students, and more all were suddenly brought to the forefront of educators’ minds.
However, as doctoral student and principal of Shuford Elementary Kisha Clemons notes, the pandemic also intensified existing inequities in the school system.
Inequalities in economics, living situation, and access have had their lines hardened by the pandemic. This means that work needs to be done not just on the new issues presented by the pandemic itself, but on doubling down to solve the already-present challenges that have been worsened over the course of COVID-19.
It is this perspective that Clemons has carried with her, from her time as a music educator and school band director to work as an administrator and studies as an educational leadership student. In 2018, Shuford Elementary was recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School for its personalized approach to education and, last year, she was named the 2020 Wells Fargo North Carolina Teacher of the Year for her work at the school.
This perspective informs the work you do as an educator, too. As Clemons says, a principal is the champion of everyone at the school. And what you do as a champion is not just prepare students for the world – you prepare them to change it.
By Avery Campbell ’20
Photography by Martin W. Kane