Erin Smith Staff writer
September 4, 2013
AMMON — Bladen Lakes Principal Reida Roberts has been tabbed as the 2013-14 Principal of the Year for Bladen County.
Roberts said that in October she will compete at the regional level.
“It was an honor because it comes from my peers,” said Roberts. “It was a surprise.”
Roberts has completed her doctoral degree from UNC-Wilmington and has enjoyed her years at Bladen Lakes Primary School.
Prior to coming to Bladen Lakes, Roberts served for two years at Lumberton Senior High School as an English teacher. She also served for two years in the Peace Corps in the Philippines then spent three years at Madison Middle School before accepting a position as assistant principal at West Bladen High School. Roberts has also served for two years at the central office as a curriculum specialist before being named principal at Bladen Lakes Primary School.
She has also found the time to become an author, with a book coming out soon by Tate Publishing called, “God’s Most Difficult Children.” Roberts said the book takes a look at at examples of children in the Old Testament and the difficulties of parenting and the Biblical answers to those problems.
She is excited about the school and its progress and activities.
She says that she has tried to expand the reach of the school and its faculty and staff beyond the walls of the school itself.
“I’m trying to expand beyond the county — I’m having teachers go to state conferences and presenting materials. I publish articles on E-zine.com. I think school leaders should reach out beyond the school where they are at,” said Roberts.
Roberts said a group of Bladen Lakes teachers is preparing to present items and ideas at two upcoming state conferences — on is a conference on reading and the other is a collaborative conference for student achievement.
“They will be taking our ‘stuff’ to the state level,” said Roberts.
She added that staff and faculty have been using the Paideia model in their classrooms for about two years now.
“It is a seminar model. Every class gets into a circle and discusses a high level topic and the discussion is student led,” said Roberts. “For example we had one on spelling tests. It is hard for the teachers sometimes. In a Paideia seminar teachers let the kids discuss the topic and come to their own conclusions.”
Roberts also said she is pleased with the music program that has developed at the school as well. She explained that when she interviewed the present music teacher, Elizabeth Alford, she asked her what her dream achievement for vie years would look like.
“She said she wanted a music lab with a keyboard wired into the computer with headsets,” said Roberts.
She proudly added that a school was preparing to replace a similar system and Roberts said she was able to obtain the items for Alford to use.
“She had to move on to her second dream which was to establish a chorus here,” said Roberts laughing. “We have a chorus here where kids compete and sing. They are really incredible singers.”
Roberts said last year the chorus prepared and sang a song all in Latin.
When asked what advice she would give to a newly appointed principal, Roberts said, “There is too much too soon and there is too little, too late… Think big and challenge the norms. Use your resources to the fullest extent.”
Roberts also added to remember that you can’t accomplish everything in one year.
“Every year, I’ve been able to build on things,” said Roberts.