DOBSON — Three Surry County educators recently completed the Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools program through the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Shannon DuPlessis, Matt Scott and D.J. Sheets were the three from Surry County to successfully navigate the training program.
“Combined with a full-time, year-long internship, the program has helped me to reflect on and leverage my strengths to become an inclusive, collaborative school leader who puts student learning and success at the forefront of my purpose as an educator,” DuPlessis said.
She completed her internship at Surry Central and will serve as the assistant principal at East Surry during the 2018-2019 school year.
The program is a collaborative one between UNC Greensboro, the Southern Regional Education Board, Surry County Schools and 10 other rural school districts to recruit and train 20 teachers and other educators to participate in what the school system says is an” intensive 42-credit hour program.”
By participating in the program, the Surry County Schools teachers earned a Master of School Administration and NC Level I Principal Licensure over 18 months.
The program was funded by a $1.8 million grant from the North Carolina Alliance for School Leader Development.
According to Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt, faculty member in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations and principal investigator for the grant, the program “bridges what the School of Education knows about leader preparation with the school’s mission to increase access to opportunity.
“This grant helps districts grow their own principals by providing the resources to identify, train and support star teachers who are committed to rural schools and have outstanding leadership potential.”
The program provided full in-state tuition both years and salary for the principal interns during year two.
“During the full-time internship, Surry County Schools’ interns gained valuable hands-on experience working alongside practicing principals,” stated a news release from Surry County Schools. Those three mentor principals were Celia Hodges at Surry Central, Paige Badgett at North Surry and Lorrie Sawyers at East Surry.
“The PPEERS program provided a plethora of rich opportunities from which I was able to build my leadership capacity,” said Scott, who taught at Surry Central and interned at East Surry.
“Many growth opportunities came from the coursework, Thursday seminars, Saturday professional development sessions, school tours, and performance learning days,” Scott said. “However, I am most grateful for the year-long internship and the immeasurable insight I gained from the experience.”
Scott has been named the assistant principal at Meadowview Magnet Middle School for the 2018-19 school year.
“The PPEERS program was rigorous, fast-paced, and demanding, much like school leadership,” said Sheets, who interned at North Surry. “The program components, including the principal internship, have given me the tools I need to build upon my strengths and learn new skills to be an effective school leader.”
Sheets is replacing Jonathan Frasher, serving as the assistant principal at Pilot Mountain Middle School.
“Surry County Schools is pleased to have partnered with UNCG as part of this tremendous grant opportunity,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, school superintendent.
“One of our strategic priorities as a school district is to attract, train, and retain quality personnel with skills to deliver 21st Century content. The PPEERS grant enabled these educators to obtain valuable coursework knowledge while simultaneously gaining needed leadership skills during the internship experience for immediate application of learning.
”I am proud of the hard work and effort of the interns and their mentor principals. I look forward to working with and supporting each of them in their new roles as assistant principals.”