New principal always wanted to be teacher
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New Lonoke Primary School principal Rebecca Reed said she has always wanted to be a teacher.
Reed, 33, comes to Lonoke after teaching kindergarten for seven years in Des Arc.
Reed graduated from Arkansas State University with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in 2006. She earned her master’s degree in education leadership from ASU in December 2012.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to teach,” she said during an interview last week. “After high school, I started college, working on that degree. I took breaks because I have children. In between those breaks, I worked at daycares and early childhood centers.”
Reed also worked for approximately a year at the United Methodist Children’s Home Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center in Little Rock.
“It’s a lockdown facility for children ages 10-17,” she said. “I worked direct care for a little while, which was modifying their behaviors and working toward modifying their behaviors. Then I did some of their case management while I was there, as well.
“I got to work with the kids and on the administration side as well.”
Reed said her dream to become a principal didn’t occur until later in life.
“It was mainly after I realized how important leadership in schools are,” she said. “I just felt like I had those qualities that could be beneficial to a school district.”
Reed said she is “extremely fortunate” to be the principal at the primary school.
“I’m extremely excited about being here this year,” she said. “I graduated from Beebe, so it’s about the same size as Lonoke. So, I’m used to the demographics and the size of this district. However, Des Arc was a smaller district.”
At Des Arc, the elementary school housed kindergarten through sixth grade.
“In this building, its only pre-k through second,” Reed said. “But, the student population is about the same in each building.”
Reed is taking over for longtime principal Ross Moore, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Reed said she is excited to work with the administrative team in Lonoke.
“I’m very fortunate and blessed that Mrs. Bailey is giving me this opportunity,” Reed said, referring to Lonoke superintendent Suzanne Bailey. “I feel like our administrative team is very collaborative and very united in her vision and moving forward with her vision and her plan for the district.”
Reed said she had met most of her staff already. She set up an optional meeting the first week on the job with the grade level teams. She said most of them attended.
“They wanted to come and meet,” she said, using the meeting as a “get-to-know-you.”
“We did talked about how things are done in the building and the things they are using right now to see if we can grow from what they were doing last year,” Reed said. “I don’t plan on making any major changes except for those ones that are set forth by the Arkansas Department of Education. So, I just wanted to get a feel for how they were utilizing what they were already doing.”
Reed said the primary school staff is “awesome.”
“I’m so excited to have a great team of teachers,” she said. “I feel like we’re all on the same page and they are ready to dig in, as well. I’ve had plenty of phone calls and plenty of e-mails and plenty of visits in the office, which I’m excited about. They’ve come and talked to me, just made me feel at home. I hope that we will continue to work as a team like that. That’s a big deal to me.”
Reed and her husband John have been married for six year. They have four children: Destanie, who will be a junior; Brendan, a ninth-grader; Weston, a fifth-grader; and Ryleigh, will be in kindergarten.
“All of my children will go to school here,” Reed said. “I feel that we need to be together. That is important. I feel like they should all be together.”