Sheila Atkins ‘12MSA started her career at Granville County Schools as a teacher assistant and bus driver. More than 20 years later, not only is she the principal of Wilton Elementary School, she is also the 2019-2020 Granville County Public Schools Principal of the Year.
Atkins learned she received the award in the fall during a special surprise celebration with teachers, county representatives and members of her family.
“I am so blessed to receive this honor, but you know I could not do anything without all of you,” Atkins said. “Together, we are a team, and the most important thing in our work is the children. We are all in this together.”
Wilton Elementary School has been recognized as a Lighthouse school, a distinction earned by less that 15% of schools in the nation, for its student leadership program. Atkins’ own leadership style relies on the educators around her.
“At Wilton, we all work together as a team,” Atkins said. “We all have expectations, and begin with the end in mind to focus on our goals for student success by the end of the school year.”
To achieve success for her students, Atkins uses lessons she learned while earning her Master of School Administration from the NC State College of Education.
“The best lesson I learned would be to always be willing to listen to others because their perspective and opinions matter,” Atkins said.
She takes advantage of opportunities to listen to her students and hopes to shape them into future leaders.
“I find time to engage with students while they learn, by visiting classrooms,” Atkins said. “Students love to show the principal what they are learning.”
When Atkins thinks about education and the positive impact it can have on students, she said, she thinks about the words of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Photo contributed by Granville County Public Schools.