Greene: ‘There’s nothing else I’d rather do’

Greene: “I love coming to work every day.”

By Mallory Brown
Special to The Pee Dee Post

When principal Jamie Greene accepted a position at East Rockingham Elementary School in January 2014, she knew she’d made the right decision.

Though this year is her first as a principal, Jamie is no stranger to the classroom.

“Coming from a family where my mother was an educator, I knew the importance of school and education as I was growing up,” she said, naming at least three family members who were employed within the educational system.

Jamie Greene

Jamie Greene

Greene began her own career as a teacher assistant at what was formerly the Ashley Chapel School in Rockingham. After a temporary break from her path to education, she realized that the classroom was truly where she belonged — so she returned to school in pursuit of a higher degree.

“My parents and aunt and uncle were very supportive in the process,” she explained. Greene also credited her former boss, Dr. Bill Haltiwanger, for encouraging her to return to school while she raised three children of her own.

After graduation, Greene accepted a position as a third grade teacher at L.J. Bell Elementary School in Rockingham where she would remain for 15 years. During this time, she also obtained National Board Certification—a voluntary, advanced teaching credential aligned with national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

Greene’s hard work did not go unnoticed, which is why she was soon offered a job at the central office, working as a beginning teacher coordinator. Though she loved the position, she couldn’t help but notice a difference in her environment.

“I really missed the children,” Greene admitted. “I needed to be in a school. I liked having a home and being a real part of something.”

It was during that time that realignment was occurring throughout the district. Greene remembered former superintendent George Norris approaching her about the possibility of returning to a school as an assistant principal. Greene agreed enthusiastically.

“I worked at Rockingham Middle School for two years during the realignment,” she said. “And I loved it because I got to see a lot of the same children I’d seen at L.J. Bell.”

The year 2010 marked the opening of East Rockingham Elementary, and a chance for Greene to continue her career as an assistant principal. Four years later, following the retirement of former principal Debbie Wrenn, Greene was given the opportunity to lead the school—a job she said is only possible because of the daily support from the staff and parents of East Rockingham Elementary.

And her plans for the school don’t stop there.

“One of our goals is to really develop a sense of community and responsibility in the school—one that will make our parents proud,” she said.

It’s no question that the school is well on its way. Greene, who describes herself as a high achiever and goal-setter, works closely with her staff and students to create a unique and positive environment at East Rockingham.

“Community and family support are important to us,” she said. “We also hope to have a very active PTO.” Greene explained that her team has embarked upon several outreach initiatives, including visiting local churches and libraries to encourage the importance of education. “It’s been very successful,” she added. “This year we’ve also started a Morning-Noon-Night program where we’re doing intense work with students in the morning and at noon—and we encourage parents to continue working with them at night.”

Though her role has changed over the years, even as a principal Greene said she feels that the most important part of her time is spent in the classroom.

“Administrators need to be in the classroom with the teachers, with the children,” she said. “We are part of the school. I don’t think you should run your school from the office—you should be out there in the building. That’s what makes us successful. We, as teachers, all work together—from assistants to custodians. Everybody is willing to do what it takes for the child.”

And there’s no doubt that the teaching gene runs in Greene’s family, because two of her three children—Meredith, Courtney and Wesley—are currently employed in the education field. Greene’s husband of 10 years, Don, also shares her passion for public education as a member of the Richmond County Board of Education.

When asked about the path that led her “home” to East Rockingham Elementary, Greene answered without hesitation.

“There’s nothing else I’d rather do.”

Editor’s note: October is National Principals Month. The Pee Dee Post will publish profiles on each of the county’s 16 school principals as submitted by Richmond County Schools during the month.

 

Filed in: Education, Latest Headlines, News

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