Parent Teacher Magazine Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools May/June 2018 - Page 7

‘Everything you said is true’ Assistant principal treasures his students, then and now Educators seem to either love or hate teaching at the middle school level. Rolando Parkins is the former – he wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. “I love middle school,” said Parkins, assistant principal at Mountain Island Lake Academy. “It’s a really awkward time in kids’ lives when they’re trying to figure out who they are. But you help them learn that it’s not all about what their friends think and teach them to listen to their parents and to be a better person.” Parkins is one of 251 assistant principals who work in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators have designated April 9-13 as National Assistant Principals Week to honor assistant principals and recognize their contributions to the success of students across the United States. Dr. Clayton Wilcox, CMS superintendent, recognized the district’s assistant principals for taking on the challenges, responsibility and hard work inherent in their jobs. “Every day, you work with our teachers and staff, students and families to drive instruction, improve school culture and make your school the best it can be,” he said. “I encourage everyone to take time to thank an assistant principal this week.” A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Parkins decided to become an educator while attending Pace University. He taught two years in New York and four years in Montgomery County, Md., before moving to Charlotte in 2004. He taught eighth-grade social studies at Piedmont Middle, where in 2014 he became dean of students in charge of the seventh-grade team. He became assistant principal at Mountain Island Lake in 2016. “I initially didn’t think I wanted to be an administrator but I was a site coordinator for Freedom School and liked the leadership role,” Parkins said. “At Thomasboro (Academy), we had 120 scholars and 12 college students working with them. I liked teaching them to be leaders.” Parkins joined Mountain Island Lake for its first year as a full K-8 program and worked to create a middle school culture and to start new traditions. This year, he instituted a house system (think Harry Potter) across the middle school grades. The four houses are named for gods from Greek mythology, which is part of the sixth- and eighth- grade curriculum. Students earn points for making honor roll, playing sports, etc. and the house with the most points will win a party. Parkins’ goal is to become a middle school principal in about three years, after his sixth-graders graduate from the school. He said one of his daughters currently has a teacher who was his student in eighth-grade and he likes seeing how the time and effort has paid off. “Some of them come back and say, ‘Everything you said is true,’” he said. “Those are the moments that are really cool.” Like Us Medicaid, Health Choice, TRICARE, Blue Cross Blue Shield Parent Teacher Magazine • May/June 2018 • 5