8/6/18 ‘Experience is one of the best teachers’
‘Experience is one of the best teachers’
Principal of the Year takes up new position in system
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 8/6/18
Reprinted with permission.
Steven Mantilla / Times-News
Emmet Alexander might have a nice new office, but he’s not letting it go to his head.
The 2018 Alamance-Burlington Principal of the Year has taken over as the school system’s Assistant Superintendent for School Administration/Student Services.
The position was left vacant this summer when Dr. Charles Monroe retired.
A native of California, Alexander moved to Alamance County at a young age and attended Eastlawn Elementary School and Turrentine Middle before graduating from Walter Williams High School in 1989.
He majored in business with a different career path in mind, but found that he was called to teach.
“When the opportunity presented itself where I could teach, then everything kind of changed,” he said. “I began working within special education. From there, I moved into administration, and from building-level administration to central office administration this year.”
He served as assistant principal at Graham High School for a number of years before making the move to Hugh M. Cummings High School, where he was assistant principal from 2006 until 2010 when he advanced to principal.
He believes those experiences — particularly the last 12 years at Cummings — have prepared him well for this new role.
“I think experience is one of the best teachers so with the various experiences I’ve had over the years, hopefully it will put me in the position where I can relate to students, parents, the community, colleagues alike,” Alexander said.
Monroe, who was a U.S. Army Ranger in Vietnam, gave him this advice before turning over there is: “Stand firm, pay attention, and support individuals as [you] have been supported.”
Though Alexander will be supporting all 35 ABSS schools, he’ll always have a soft spot for Cummings.
A framed photo on his office wall shows him hugging his daughter, Brianna, as she received her diploma from CHS last June.
“I’ve had a few bittersweet experiences here recently,” he said. “One being my last graduation, the next being leaving Cummings High School, and I guess the pinnacle of these three situations [is] my daughter going off to school. She was the last child to walk across the stage to me.”
Alexander says she’s pursuing special education, seemingly following in her dad’s footsteps.
In his free time, Alexander likes to cook — specifically smoke, fry and barbecue meats, which he became rather famous for at Cummings’ annual senior cookout. He and his wife also travel when their schedules allow.
“I like to have fun, relax when I can,” he said.
But with the first day of school quickly approaching, he’s spending the majority of his time preparing to do the best he can in this new position.
“I’m excited to be here and in a position where I can support many, and I just look forward to the opportunities and experiences [that await],” he said.