With her office decorated with brightly-colored signs with inspirational quotes, Sheila Wright, a former teacher at Pumpkin Center Intermediate, is ready to greet children at North Brook Elementary School on Monday. Wright was promoted as assistant principal at North Brook in June by the Lincoln County Board of Education.
Wright went to school at Union Elementary, West Lincoln Middle School and graduated in 1997 from West Lincoln High School. She attended Appalachian State University to obtain her bachelor’s degree and, immediately upon graduation, started working at Pumpkin Center Intermediate, where she taught for the last 18 years. She returned to UNC-Charlotte to obtain her master’s degree in reading education (K-12) and obtained her National Board Certification in 2016.
At North Brook, she’s working in a combined role as the assistant principal and Title Iinterventionist.
“I will luckily still be able to work with children,” she said. “I’ll be working with small groups and be able to push into the classrooms as well to help teachers and help grow students.”
While growing up, Wright said that she never wanted to do anything other than be a teacher.
“I can remember playing with my stuffed animals while my sisters were at school and I was the teacher,” she said. “I’d have the neighbor next door pretend to be one of my students and I’d be the teacher. I’d drop him off home with my school bus, which was my bicycle.”
There were also teachers that she had while in school herself who were influential in her career path, in particular her fourth grade teacher, Marsha Ross, and fifth grade teacher, Betty Sain.
“I think it was just their love and passion for what they were doing,” she said. “They made learning fun. I wanted to able to do the same thing for my students and be that person for them when they got to school. So many of our kids, when they come to school, that’s their hot meal, that’s where they’re seeking someone to understand them. I want to make learning engaging and fun, where they want to be able to come to school. To create a safe environment for them where they feel safe enough to relax and be themselves and be able to push the other stuff aside so they can learn the material that’s being taught to them.”
Wright was inspired to return to school to obtain her master’s degree to be able to help her students better with reading and building their foundation as readers. An avid reader herself, Wright reads every morning when she wakes up and before going to bed.
“Amazon’s coming to my doorstep once or twice a week,” she said. “I’ve read a lot this summer on leadership and how to be that servant leader.”
Working hand in hand with principal Jennifer Carroll to help cultivate and grow the culture that is prevalent at North Brook is one of Wright’s goals. It was this culture that drew Wright to the school during interviews.
“I felt at home walking in the doors and everyone has been so welcoming,” she said. “I felt at peace leaving the classroom. I always thought I’d never leave the classroom, that I’d there with my students until the very end. The transition has been very easy for me. I have the admin role but I’m still able to work with the students.”