DOBSON — Three county school teachers have been nominated for a leadership program that will prepare them to become principals.
The three nominees are Shannon DuPlessis, an English teacher at North Surry; Matt Scott, math teacher at Surry Central; and D.J. Sheets, fourth-grade teacher at Westfield Elementary.
Assistant Superintendent Chuck Graham said Surry County Schools was one of 12 rural school districts contacted in the first week of October about a unique opportunity through UNC Greensboro.
Graham said UNCG has 20 slots open for a leadership program that will start in the new year. SCS was chosen to nominate three people for PPEERS, Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools. The district chosen one person from each of the three high schools (or a feeder school as Westfield is part of the East Surry region).
Over 18 months in the PPEERS program, the 20 educators will earn 42 college credit hours for a fully funded Master’s degree in School Administration.
PPEERS will provide full tuition for the whole year and a half as well as providing salary replacement, Graham told the Board of Education at Monday’s meeting.
That’s a huge deal, Graham said after the meeting. The three people in the program wouldn’t be able to work their regular jobs next year, so having the three of them on the payroll AND hiring three teachers to cover those classes would be more than $100,000.
Instead, UNCG says PPEERS will provide a salary for the 10-month school year at a rate equal to what an entry level assistant principal would earn.
UNCG said program highlights include a rigorous, 10-course workload and an administrative internship; leadership coaching and development; special topic seminars; enrichment experience; and practicum experience with a case study school.
Part of the program will be serving in an administrative capacity as a paid intern, with one intern at each of the three high schools. Once they finish, not only will the educators have the degree necessary to step up to an assistant principal job, they will have had on-the-job experience, too.
Graham said the good experiences has already begun. The application process was quite intensive including having each person write an essay that “reflects commitment to education, instructional leadership and data use.” They also had to shoot a five-minute video presentation.
Graham said the three local candidates need only go through an interview with a panel of faculty before receiving final approval for the program.
In order to receive the free education and salary assistance, each candidate will then sign a contract agreeing to serve their home district for four years.
• Also at Monday’s meeting, Dr. Travis Reeves, SCS superintendent, introduced this month’s employee of the month.
This is the first time that a bus driver has earned the award, Reeves told the school board.
Jackie Fulk has been a driver for Shoals Elementary for years, and his wife Carolyn also drives a bus.
Reeves read from some of the nominations that were written on Jackie’s behalf.
“The love the kids have for Jackie is indescribable,” Reeves read. He always has a nice comment, a song to sing or a joke to make. Jackie is so kind and deserving of the honor.
Another wrote that Jackie sings to the kids on the bus, and he worries over them all and makes sure they are safe.
Jackie is a wonderful bus driver, said a third nomination. Sometimes kids ask him to come eat lunch with them, and he tries to make time for that often. When he speaks about kids, there is passion in his voice. When he walks in the school, he’s like a celebrity.
Reeves said Jackie Fulk is just one of about a hundred bus drivers who get up early every morning to get the kids to school. And the ladies at the Shoals front office say he brings them doughnut every two or three weeks.
Board member Mamie Sutphin said that as the parent of one of his riders, she is very thankful for him.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.