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Douglas McCullough ‘19MSA: Supporting Teachers and Students at the School Leadership Level

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Douglas McCullough is a principal fellow who completed his administrative residency at Fuquay-Varina High School. Now, he is excited to support teachers and impact students at the school leadership level.

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Name: Douglas M. McCullough
Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
Field of Study: Master of School Administration  

Why I Chose Education: I simply believe everyone deserves every opportunity to find success in life. While many face circumstances that make the journey more difficult, education is the best way for every student to get that chance.

Why I Chose School Administration: As much as I loved teaching in the classroom, I believe there is a need for that same passion and innovation to occur at the school leadership level, where decisions can be made to address the barriers that prevent teachers from helping students reach their fullest potential. Leaving the classroom felt like a sacrifice, but I’ve enjoyed learning how to impact the way we navigate education on a broader level.

My Favorite Class: I thoroughly enjoyed my Teacher Empowerment course with Dr. Tim Drake. At the beginning of the course, I remember thinking, “I was a pretty effective, reflective teacher, why do I need to learn about this stuff?” But the more we got into the class, the more I learned about myself as a leader and how important it was to bring out the best qualities of the teachers I will work with in formal and informal ways. I learned how to apply research driven strategies to my personal style and deepen my understanding of topics such as interpersonal relationships, distributive leadership and instructional coaching.

What’s Next: My hopes and goals are to learn as much as I can as a school administrator in carrying out the vision and mission of a school, through supporting teachers and students, as well as developing innovative ways to ensure all students have the opportunity to find success.

My Advice to Others Considering Education: Remember your why. Working in education as a teacher or administrator can be very daunting and frustrating at times. Sometimes frustration can lead to disillusionment, cynicism or defeat. In those times, remember why you got into this. Find one thing (past or present) that is worth celebrating and realize as long as you are doing what’s best for children, you are doing what’s right. My second piece of advice: No matter if you are a teacher, principal, counselor or librarian, never stop being a student.