The Mount Airy City Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Vickie Cameron has announced her retirement March 28 after 40 years and two months of service in education. Although she admits to being an avid supporter of celebrating and recognizing achievement in the system, she’d rather not be in the limelight herself.
“I’m a big hoopla person for everyone but myself,” said Cameron, laughing. “I’ve really enjoyed my 40 years. It’s been an awesome journey. That’s my celebration.” She said it brings to mind sayings of how a journey is the reward, not necessarily the goal.
According to Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little, Cameron has chosen to retire to spend more time with family. She said she spent 34 years with Surry County Schools and will have spent more than five with Mount Airy.
“It’s an awesome place to be,” added Cameron. “There are so many things you can do in a school system this small.”
Little said Cameron’s departure will “leave an incredible void because of her energy and enthusiasm and passion for the welfare of students that she brings to work every day.” He added that he has worked with Cameron for 16 months and has been impressed by her professionalism.
“Her living legacy is she truly cares about kids and wants the best for them,” said Little.
Cameron said she loves learning and feels everyone should never stop learning and growing. She said the Mount Airy School System is unique. She said it is small and its personnel are “genuinely concerned about children and want them to learn and grow and be productive citizens.” She also said the amount of alumni who return to work in the system is an indicator of how good it is.
According to Cameron, she started in education in 1974 teaching first grade at White Plains Elementary School, where she remained for 13 years. She next served at Copeland Elementary School as a K-8 grade teacher and also an assistant principal and next served as an assistant principal at Franklin Elementary School. She was promoted to principal at Lowgap Elementary School, which had more than 90 students. She served there for two years until Lowgap and Beulah schools were combined to form Cedar Ridge Elementary School. Cameron then moved into being a curriculum specialist.
She next served as a principal at Flat Rock Elementary School for one year and then spent 11 years as Central Middle School principal before moving into her post with Mount Airy City Schools.
“I had never been in a central office position so I decided to try it,” explained Cameron. “I quickly found out that at Mount Airy you are involved in multiple tasks. My experience here has been good. We have been innovative and creative for children, I have seen great things from this school system.”
Cameron said she feels having experience in so many different schools has been a blessing.
“The more experiences you’ve had, the better you can relate,” said Cameron. “I have seen changes and worked with three different superintendents. The people I’ve met along the way have been wonderful. I give a lot of credit to the people I’ve been around. It’s not about about you but who you surround yourself with. I’ve been privileged.”
She reflected on how many administrators have come from Central Middle School and said part of the reason is the size and diversity of the school. She said it gives an administrator perspective early on.
“Being an administrator in a large middle school can be an eye-opening experience,” elaborated Cameron. “You must see the big picture, not just one piece of the puzzle. You have to have visionary people. I like people who not only have a vision but can change because of what is right. The test is always what works for children.”
Cameron said she also has appreciated the relationship between Mount Airy and its schools. She said the community cares very much about its children and wants what is right. She said she applauds that. She briefly described her everyday work ethic.
“I have to work so I know I’ve done the best for children and the school when I walk out every day. To know I made a difference,” said Cameron. “It takes all of us to do what’s right for children. I also am so grateful for my supportive family who tolerated all the hours I spent after school.”
Little stressed how important schools continue to be to children as they continue to add to their supportive roles.
“What people are giving to children is not just teaching. For many we are often the only smiling faces they will see that day,” said Little. “No matter what’s going on around her (Vickie), she smiles. She’s in this business for students, and the time and energy she’s put forth is worth celebrating.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.