1. You are the principal at East Fannin Elementary School. How long have you lived in Fannin County?
I am a lifelong resident of Fannin County, graduating from Fannin County High School in 1987. I’ve actually never lived anywhere else aside from the three years I attended North Georgia College in Dahlonega. Even when I was younger, I never had the urge to move away; the mountains are my home.
2. Tell us about your career in education.
I began teaching in 1990. My first year I taught Kindergarten, which was eye opening since I was barely 21 years old! In addition to Kindergarten, I’ve taught first and third grades and spent several years as a curriculum specialist and an academic coach. I was honored to be named the Teacher of the Year at Blue Ridge Elementary in 1994, which was the first year I was eligible for consideration. Over the last 27 years I’ve worked at all three elementary schools in some capacity. I’ve been the Principal at East Fannin since November 2012.
3. What do you most enjoy about being a principal, and what are some frustrations?
I love the smiles and hugs the most! The students at East Fannin are absolutely wonderful! I’m also extremely fortunate to work with an amazing faculty and staff. Everyone at EFES is kind, considerate, and hard-working. Just this past week we were named as a Finalist in the Family Friendly School Partnership Award. We are ecstatic to be a finalist for this honor; we value relationships with families and students as highly as we do learning. As with any job, there are sometimes frustrations. In the last few years education and politics have somehow managed to get entangled which makes it tough on teachers, schools and even students. Changing standards, shifting accountability measures, laws, and mandates can be difficult to navigate, especially when our focus needs to be on the child and the community.
4. What is your proudest accomplishment as principal?
It’s hard to name just one proudest accomplishment. About two weeks ago our school’s 2016 College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) score was published and EFES posted a huge gain over our 2015 score, jumping 12 points higher when the average CCRPI score for elementary schools in the state dropped. Recently being named a finalist in the Family Friendly Partnership Award was a fantastic moment, too! The EFES Teacher of the Year was named the Fannin County Teacher of the Year in September, and that is a point of pride for me as well. There’s nothing better than walking into a fantastic teacher’s classroom and observing what our students are learning. I’m fortunate because I get to do this every single day. There are great things happening at EFES all the time!
5. Tell us about your family, your interests, and how you manage to juggle family and career.
I’m a proud mom of three and very recently became a grandmother. Like everyone else, finding balance between work and family can be tough. Since most of my children are now adults, this is a little easier than it used to be. In my free time I enjoy traveling, hanging out with my fiancé Frankie Rigdon and our families and being a part of the CrossFit Fannin family. Life is meant to be shared and enjoyed. Every day is a gift!