under the sun
Education Is A Callinq / For New
INSIDE THIS SECTION:
THE BRUNSWICK-feBEACOM g Sports , Pages 10-14
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18. 1993 I ? I ? . 7 j
m/0 ? Fishing report , 1 4
Shoiioffe Middle Principal
BY SUSAN USHER
When Sandra Galloway Robinson played school
with her cousins, she was always the teacher.
Her role in the school play? The teacher.
The people in her life who left the indelible impres
sions? Teachers like the late Janie Frink, who made his
j tory come to life for her fifth graders and who stressed
the importance of enunciation, English grammar and
Robinson was determined to create that same kind of
excitement in her own classroom someday, preferably in
Brunswick County where she could give something
back to the children of her community.
"1 always knew I was going to teach. It was like a
calling," she reflected during an interview in the princi
pal's office at Shallotte Middle School, her office. "If I
can help one boy or girl within a day or a week, then I
After 12 years teaching eighth grade language arts
and social studies and five years as assistant principal at
West Brunswick High School, she became principal at
Shallotte Middle this past July and has been made wel
come. She is one of only two black principals in the 12
school district, joining Union Elementary 's Zelphia
"So far it has been a good year for us. We have had a
few problems but we've been able to work through
them." she reflects. "I'm pleased."
Her childhood home at Supply and Shallotte Middle
School are 10 miles and half a lifetime apart. It's been a
"hometown girl does well" kind of trip, shared by her
husband. Ronnie, daughter Venee. in ninth grade, and
son Victor, who lives in Durham with his wife and
Robinson credits her strong parents ? Arlene Gallo
way of Supply and the late Thomas Galloway Sr. with
"any success" she's had.
"They brought me up right. They taught me who my
constant and ever-present source of help is."
After attending Union High School and graduating
from Shallotte High School in 1967, Robinson worked
five years at Highlander L.td. sewing plant (now Pelican
Manufacturing Co.) in Shallotte before heading off to
school. In 1975, she was graduated from Shaw
University in Raleigh. Baptist-affiliated and the oldest
black university in America.
She wanted to teach high school, but her bachelor's
degree is in intermediate education with a social studies
minor. During a summer internship at the Brunswick
County Board of Education, a mentor advised that mid
dle grade certification would get her into the system
faster, because of the low turnover rate for high school
English and social studies teachers.
After commencement she returned to a summer job at
The Hurricane restaurant in Little River. S.C.. while still
pursuing her goal. Just as Robinson was about to start
looking harder out of state, she was called in to inter
view for an eighth grade language arts/social studies
post at Bolivia School.
"I told them to let me know one way or another the
next day because I was getting ready to leave. I was de
termined to have a teaching job that fall."
She got the job, and, as if in affirmation of her calling,
was voted 1976-77 Brunswick County Teacher of the
Year after her first year in the classroom.
STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHER
SANDRA ROBINSON wants students and teachers excited about Shallotte Middle School, where she
took the helm in July.
Robinson became involved in the North Carolina
Association of Educators, eventually serving as county
chapter president, and was invited to join an in-house
program to groom potential school administrators. She
earned her master's degree in education in 1986 through
the University of South Carolina at Coastal Carolina,
and completed school administrator certification in 1991
at Fayetteville State University.
Her climb has been steady: from Bolivia to a South
Brunswick Middle classroom, then, after 12 years in the
classroom, to West Brunswick High School as assistant
principal and in 1991. county summer school director.
She felt "at home" at the high school, that "this was
She established her own administrative style while
working under two principals with very different leader
ship styles, Ed Lemon and David Corley.
"They didn't stifle me. and I really appreciate that
from both of them." she said.
She also sought out Maliston "Moe" Stanley, a former
West Brunswick assistant principal. "I asked him what
advice he had for me as an assistant principal He ad
vised me ti) take my time to investigate, to Ik- consistent
and to he fair.
"If I picked upon anyone's style, it was his." she con
tinued. "I try to make being consistent, being fair, part of
my character. When I don't it seems like things just
don't go the way they should."
Her door is usually open, part of her commitment to
"I try to maintain an open-door policy and I try to be
accommodating." she says, admitting "sometimes I'm
probably too accommodating."
Nine weeks into the school year, she still stops young
sters in the hall to shake their hands and learn their
names. With 850 students and 7<) employees on campus,
it takes a while to learn who everyone is.
"I try to make the kids feel important." she says. With
children who are having a tough time, she tries to make
extra time for a hug, or sharing breakfast or lunch in the
school cafeteria ? "some time to help him work out a
Her goals include introducing students to conflict res
olution skills so they can learn to solve problems "with
out throwing punches." and creating more time in the
schedule for communications skills. These five skill ar
eas are critical for students, a focus of end-of-year tests
and on the schools' own annual report
"I think the people here are really committed to get
ting the job done," she said. "Any extra time they have
they're spending on writing."
As testing time draws near, she said, "all of us are
feeling a little anxiety."
"I feel it is important that we do what we do well, that
we align our curriculum with the state curriculum and
make sure the students get one thing before moving to
the next because skills are built sequentially. Miss it and
the next step will be more difficult."
Robinson also wants to build stronger connections
among teachers, students and parents, and between
school and community, including the business sector.
An active PTO under Russell Brown has been trying
to meet some school needs. It's provided a music system
for the music department, a gas blower for the custodial
staff, tools for the horticulture class and calculators for
the special services class.
A report card pick-up night last week and a forthcom
ing "Meet the Principal" session are among efforts under
way to bring parents into a school triad with faculty and
As for the community. "Anyone who would like to
adopt us, we would welcome them." said Robinson.
While dealing with day-to-day routine and handling
emergencies takes much of her time. Robinson keeps
her focus on where the school's headed.
Her vision is of a place where children don't learn just
for the sake of learning, but understand why they need
"Education is not about being good in class," she said.
"We need to show them how their schoolwork relates to
real life and adulthood. It needs to be practical, applica
"I want this to be a place boys and girls are excited
about being in. I want them to be intrigued by what we
do here. I want teachers excited about coming here."
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