Position: Principal School: R.B. Dean Elementary School
School District: Public Schools of Robeson County
City, State: Maxton, North Carolina
About the Nominee: Sherry Park was nominated by a colleague, Nancy Locklear.
Sherry Park became R.B Dean Elementary School's principal in August 2014. Upon her arrival at the school, she indicated that she wanted to make learning exciting for both students and staff. She began her efforts by working to positively impact the culture of the school and re-invigorate the staff and students. Simple gestures such as serving refreshments to staff members during meetings and having staff dinners at Christmas and at the end of the year helped boost morale and engage staff.
Mrs. Park continued the process of making learning fun for students by taking them on various field trips. These field trips were held on Saturdays, resulting in her giving her personal time to give children from impoverished backgrounds the exposure needed to spark their imaginations. Additionally, Mrs. Park provided social time for students after school on several Fridays during the school year, including after-school dances from 5-9 PM. For many students, the school dances were very beneficial in developing social skills and a sense of community.
Providing refreshments and dinners for staff members and field trips for students did not come without expense, however. Due to a lack of financial resources, Mrs. Park spearheaded efforts to raise the necessary funds. Because of her efforts, both staff members and students are excited about school. As the 2015-2016 school year came to an end, many children cried because they did not want to leave school for the summer. This shows that Mrs. Park has truly changed the mindsets and lives of students, staff and family members.