Get to Know Dr. Stephanie Sanders, Principal of Morgan Elementary School, Clemmons, NC
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Davidson Co native (born and raised). I am now raising my own child in the same county I grew up in. I am true Tarheel Girl in the truest sense and always have been and always will be a daddy’s girl. Enjoyed my four years there and go back every chance I get. I am huge sports fan and I am certain that I bring my competitive nature to the Principalship with me each day. I’d rather be watching Netflix and having no earthly sense of time, than having every moment planned in my day. I grew up teaching stuffed animals and now I am leading in my second school as a Principal of Morgan Elementary School here in Clemmons, NC.
Where did you earn your teaching certifications?
UNC Chapel Hill (BA); UNCG (M.Ed.); HPU (Ed.D.)
What was it like when you first started?
Funding was plentiful in schools and you didn’t have to make as many decisions as you do now on what to keep and what not to keep due to money. We also had textbooks and now that’s almost a thing of the distant past.
What made you decide on going into the Education field?
It is what I was born to do. Ever since I was an elementary student I wanted to teach. My nana was an educator and I remember her stories. During her day she didn’t have the opportunity to extend beyond a classroom assistant and I just pray I have made her proud as she has watched me blossom into a school leader.
Why did you decide to transition to Morgan Elementary School, Clemmons, NC?
My son. Most of my decisions in my adult life have been motivated by what is best for our family. He had a desire to pursue an opportunity, and it spurred movement in leaving my former district (Rowan) and returning to WS/FCS (had left two years prior for my first Principalship). I am grateful for the time in Rowan as I grew as a school leader. And being a part of that district taught me so much that I am using right now in my current position.
What do parents like the most about Morgan Elementary School?
From what I have gathered our parents are grateful for our staff. They feel safe dropping off their students and they have instilled a great deal of trust in us by remaining faithful to Morgan and not jumping ship to the Virtual Academy. We plan to honor that trust and we’re grateful for the relationships that exist. They spread the word which keeps Morgan’s enrollment numbers constantly growing. There’s nothing like the endorsement of a parent.
What do the kids like most about Morgan Elementary School?
The staff, throughout the summer and some of the events we have done it is evident that our students love Morgan’s staff. I think they like the family-like atmosphere and I would venture to say they are thriving now because of that foundation.
What do you think are the best qualities of your school?
The sense of community that exists within and outside of the walls of Morgan. I have felt nothing but welcomed since I came to Morgan not only by the staff but the community at large. Throughout my summer, staff was sending encouragement and parents were showing appreciation for the work that we were doing to prepare for this year. It made me want to work harder. I felt like I owed it to our staff, students and our families.
Are there any changes you would like to see at the school?
Right now, I want us to remain strong through this pandemic and come out stronger. I also want us to dedicate ourselves to making sure that we grow all students (in all of our subgroups), and that all of our students leave Morgan as proficient readers.
How do you motivate and encourage your staff?
I always seek to build strong relationships with my staff that let them know I care about them as a person. I want them to work in an atmosphere that is positive and uplifting (particularly because we’re together more than we’re apart). I try to recognize them as individuals but also collectively. We all deserve to be recognized for the big and small. I try to recognize the small even when they think I’m not watching.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Don’t try to be perfect overnight. It takes two to three years to truly become efficient at something. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and be transparent with your students. Remember that you’re human and you make mistakes too. You would be surprised how this could shape relationships with your students. Give the respect you desire and place relationship building high on your list of priorities. Be the teacher you needed growing up-consider each child’s needs.
How long have you lived in Clemmons?
I am not local to Clemmons. I am a native Davidson County resident (born and raised and now live there), but who knows what the future may hold.
What are your favorite things to do in Clemmons?
When things get back to “normal” I hope to find the spots where my students enjoy going with their families and seeing them in the community.
Where are your favorite places to go in Clemmons?
So far it’s been like a scavenger hunt to figure out where I haven’t gotten some lunch from in the local area. I enjoy supporting the non-chain restaurants particularly during this time. I’m learning a great deal about the connecting roads and what Clemmons has to offer.
If you moved...where would you go next?
The where is yet to be discovered, but I would like to do what some have done before me and be an educator in another state at some point in my career possibly.
Facebook: @Morgan Principal