It has been my pleasure to serve as the interim superintendent of the Elkin City Schools since early July. I have met some wonderful people in the community and enjoyed working with a talented staff and hard-working Board of Education. I’m pleased to report that the search for a new superintendent is progressing with first round interviews already scheduled!
In a couple of weeks, the State Board of Education will issue a statewide release of all test scores. I have reviewed the past performance of Elkin City students and examined the unofficial results from last year, and every parent and citizen in the Elkin City School system should be and will be proud of the consistently high student performance across all indicators. So please stay tuned for the official test score release in a few weeks.
All staff returned to work on August 22 and attended the annual Convocation program at Dixon auditorium. It was great to see students participating in the program — from the JROTC color guard, to an elementary student and boy scout leading the pledge, to an extremely talented group of singers from the middle and high school singing the National Anthem. Special greetings were offered by Mr. Eddie Harris, vice chairman of the county commissioners, Elkin Mayor Hutchens, School Board chairman, Dr. Richard Brinegar, and Mr. Jim Westbrook, the president of the Elkin Academic Enrichment Foundation. Mr. Frank Beals, school board member offered an inspirational moment.
Each year the district adopts a theme for the year and after much thought the theme of “Encourage, Connect, and Inspire” was selected. Any change of leadership at the top of an organization will result in some inevitable changes. At the convocation, all staff members were encouraged to focus on our students and remove any distractions to their learning. As always, teachers strive to connect their curriculum to the real world — the district’s focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) provides a great vehicle to do this with the many applications of technology changing the way we work and live. But the most important task for all school employees is to connect with students so that they can be inspired to seek knowledge and learning beyond what our curriculum offers. I would submit that motivation to learn is the most important factor in anyone’s success.
We were blessed to have two speakers at the Convocation that emphasized the importance of encouragement, making connections, and inspiring others. Mr. Gary York, owner and operator of WIFM, expressed his admiration of educators. He told them that they have answered a special calling that will shape our country’s future. The personal relationships that teachers and staff have with students significantly impact them for the rest of their lives — what an awesome opportunity and responsibility. The second speaker was Mr. Chad Tidd, the owner and operator of the Mount Airy Chick-fil-A. He spoke of the importance of his restaurant staff understanding the needs of their “guests.” For educators, students are the “guests.” Once an organization understands its guests, every person in the organization strives to satisfy their needs by creatively using the financial and human resources available. Teamwork and respect among and between employees and guests is critical to organizational success. Finally, organizations must get feedback and adjust their actions to continuously improve how guests’ needs are met. Both speakers not only offered but requested to be a partner with the Elkin City Schools.
The old saying, “our students are our future,” remains as true today as it ever was.
Dr. Don Martin is interim superintendent for Elkin City Schools.