For Megan Bain ‘18MSA, education was not her intended career. She sort of fell into it.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in international studies and Arabic, Bain joined Teach for America after witnessing the experience of one of her best friends who was in the program.
“I visited her classroom in Los Angeles and was absolutely enamored with the experience. After seeing her classroom and how she connected with students, I thought the work she did was incredible, so I applied for the program,” Bain said.
About Megan Bain
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Role: Assistant Principal, Southern Nash High School
Education: Master of School Administration, NC State College of Education; Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Arabic, Ohio State University
Her Advice to Aspiring Educators: “Remember what motivates you and cling to it on the hard days. There will be hard days, but know that what you are doing truly matters. Learn what motivates your students and let them know how much they matter to you.”
Her Advice to Students Interested in the College of Education: “NC State offers top-tier degree programs in education — take advantage of the experts who will teach you by picking their brains. Write down and organize their advice so you can refer to it later as an educator in practice.”
She joined Teach for America with the intention of pursuing a career in either the government or medical fields after completing her two years in the program. By her second year, she discovered a love for teaching and decided to pursue education as a career.
“I fell in love with teaching and working with young people after beginning my second year in the program. It wasn’t my original path, but I am grateful that it is my life’s work,” she said.
For the past 11 years, Bain has worked in education — first as a middle school math teacher and now as assistant principal at Southern Nash High School. And this year, she was named the 2020-21 Nash County High School Assistant Principal of the Year.
“I am completely honored and humbled to be nominated as the Nash County High School Assistant Principal of the Year. I work with many talented colleagues in Nash County and I continue to learn from them daily,” she said.
When Bain was a middle school teacher in Nash County, she worked under the leadership of Marquis Spell, who inspired her to pursue a career in educational leadership. She credits him for her decision to apply for the NC State College of Education’s Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA).
“Mr. Spell is a servant leader who specializes in building relationships with students and staff. He is the first supervisor I had ever encountered who truly ‘led from the back,’” she said. “His humility, intelligence and empathy inspired me to want to push harder and impact more than just the students sitting within the four walls of my classroom.”
Having several colleagues who are alumni of NELA, Bain found the program attractive and said she admired each and every one of those professionals and knew she wanted to be trained through the same program they went through. And she feels fortunate to have been selected for the NELA program and to have been able to earn her Master of School Administration degree.
During her time in NELA, Bain was chosen by the program director to speak to university officials about the impact of their international conference. Bain, who felt she wasn’t the strongest or most confident speaker in the program, was honored by the opportunity. And that experience had a major impact on her as a person as well as on her career.
“By giving me this opportunity, our program director showed me what I, too, could be capable of and instilled in me a self-confidence in my leadership potential that I had not seen before,” she said. “NELA is a comprehensive program that challenged me to exit my comfort zone.”
Throughout her experience, Bain says she had opportunities to give impromptu speeches and act out impromptu scenarios that she would be faced with as a school administrator. She also participated in a year-long principal residency internship, attended many top-level conferences and learned from some of the most renowned leaders in the field of education.
“I can confidently say that I grew both professionally and personally due to the design and rigor of my school leadership degree program. NC State offers top-tier degree programs in education,” Bain said.
Bain, who graduated from NELA in 2018, has been in her current role for three years. And as an assistant principal, she says, she is motivated by helping students and teachers reach their own goals and by helping to mitigate barriers to make it possible.
“I am passionate about supporting teachers and helping students pursue their own pathway to personal success, happiness and productive citizenship,” she said.