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Building the Leaders of Tomorrow: The Principals of Newberry County

Updated: Aug 23

Interview of All Newberry County Principals - Written By Katie Chappell

Photos By Tori Steyne Harper

Newberry County School District is blessed to have an incredibly talented team of leaders who dedicate themselves to the students of our community. Our Principals are Joy Fore, Boundary Street Elementary School; Kimberly Mack, Little Mountain Elementary; Lindsey Folk, Pomaria-Garmany Elementary; Jonathan Abney, Gallman Elementary School; Kelly Folk, Reuben Elementary School; Susan Dawkins, Newberry Elementary School; Zeb Reid, Newberry Middle School; Allison Stribble, Whitmire Community School; Sarah Harvey, Newberry High School; Neda Epps, Newberry Alternative School; Roberta Kinard, Newberry Adult Education.

They each go above and beyond to ensure that students have access to the resources and support they need to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Through their strong leadership, they create a positive and inclusive school culture where both students and staff feel supported and valued. Their ability to inspire others fosters a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and continuous improvement.

The team of leaders in the Newberry County School District truly exemplifies what it means to be passionate about education. Their tireless efforts are making a significant impact on the lives of students, setting them up for success now and in the future. As the school year nears, the Newberry Living team wanted insight on the upcoming school year and who better to ask than the schools’ leaders themselves.

NEWBERRY LIVING: What are you most excited about for the

2023-2024 school year?

JOY FORE, BSE: I’m most excited about welcoming our students, building strong relationships, and celebrating our achievements. One of the highlights of every school year is welcoming our students back as they embark on a new and exciting year. Building positive and supportive relationships is at the heart of a successful school. I am eager to foster strong connections with our students, parents, and staff members. The 2023-2024 school year will undoubtedly be filled with incredible achievements and milestones for our students and staff. I am looking forward to celebrating their successes, be it academic accomplishments, artistic endeavors, or acts of kindness and empathy. I am anxiously anticipating the joys and challenges that the 2023-2024 school year will bring.

KIMBERLY MACK, LME: I am incredibly excited about the 23-24 school year for several reasons. I can’t wait to welcome both returning and new students to the mountain, creating an atmosphere of young people eager to question and learn. Secondly, I am thrilled about the dedication and passion that our group of educators and staff brings to their calling every day. Each and every one fosters a rigorous and enthusiastic learning environment. This environment is created from the classrooms to the gym to the cafeteria and beyond.

LINDSEY FOLK, PGE: I am most excited about continuing the work alongside the PGE staff to provide a loving and learning-focused environment for our students. Our theme this year is one of our 7 Mindsets, “We Are Connected”. Our goal here is to continue establishing quality relationships with our students, their families, our community, and within our staff family.

JONATHAN ABNEY, GES: I’m excited to meet the entire Gallman Elementary School community and continue the work of providing enriching learning experiences for all of our students.

KELLY FOLK, RES: At Reuben we are looking forward to continuing our gardening project and offering more opportunities for outdoor learning in our outdoor classroom area. We have some new faces at Reuben this year and we are looking forward to welcoming a new art and music teacher, a new reading interventionist as well as a new secretary.

SUSAN DAWKINS, NES: I am very excited to begin the new year with a great staff and the wonderful students of Newberry Elementary. As we welcome returning staff, we will also greet several new faculty members to our Rocket Family. I had the privilege of meeting so many new faces last year and establishing relationships. I am looking forward to continuing to grow those relationships, welcoming new stakeholders, and nurturing our Newberry community.

I feel like 2022-2023 was the return to normalcy that we missed with the pandemic. Students were able to engage, collaborate, and grow academically in many ways. Although we still have work to do, we are making significant gains.

ZEB REID, NMS: I am excited to be working with our faculty, staff, & students at NMS. We have a very talented group of educators at NMS, and I believe our students are going to have some tremendous victories in academics, arts, and athletics during the 2023-2024 school year.

ALLISON STRIBBLE, WCS: At Whitmire we are excited about our vision for this school year: #BetterTogether. Being a PK-12 school allows us so many unique opportunities and we are going to build on this together. This is the 20th anniversary of our Community School opening, and we are excited to celebrate its success.

SARAH HARVEY, NHS: I am most excited to be back at NHS. I have not only worked at this school, I was a graduate many years ago. Newberry High is a special place with highly gifted students and staff members. I am excited for us all to work together to bring out the best in each other.

NEDA EPPS, NAS: I am most excited about the parental/community engagement aligned for the 2023-2024 school year.

ROBERTA KINARD, NAE: This summer staff members participated in a week-long statewide training designed to meet the evolving needs of the students we serve and to ensure program success for the 2023-2024 school year. I am most excited about the various opportunities and

activities planned for the new year including the expansion of college and career development sessions and digital platforms. These initiatives will provide comprehensive training, counseling, and support to assist our students acquire the skills and knowledge required to successfully enter post-secondary education or the workforce. We are thrilled about the potential for growth and innovation for the upcoming school year.

NEWBERRY LIVING: Is there anything new your school is introducing this school year? (New program, bringing an old program back, new teachers or staff)?

JOY FORE, BSE: We are excited to continue our LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development this year. Our teachers will be participating in this year-long PD in order to gain the skills and knowledge needed to master the foundational and fundamentals of reading and writing instruction – phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and written language.

KIMBERLY MACK, LME: I am honored to announce that we have a teacher returning to the mountain to teach third grade, Mrs. Amy Thomas. I am just as excited to have four new teachers joining us on the mountain: Mrs. Rachel Swindler will be teaching third grade, Mrs. Shelly Van Vlake will be teaching fourth grade, Mallorie Jaeger will also be teaching fourth grade, and Mrs. Cori Rebmann will be the resource teacher. Mrs. Tara Purcell is joining the Wildcat team as the Receptionist.

LINDSEY FOLK, PGE: We will continue our journey as a 7 Mindsets school. Through this approach we aspire to increase attendance and achievement as well as support our students’ social and emotional health. This is year three for PGE and we already have data to prove that student achievement is on the rise and behavior referrals and consequences are on a decline. We want that to continue into the 2023-2024 school year.

JONATHAN ABNEY, GES: I’ve been welcomed as the new principal of Gallman Elementary.

KELLY FOLK, RES: New to us this year will be having art and music on campus two days a week. We look forward to being able to offer some things to our students in the area of the arts that we haven’t previously been able to such as art clubs and chorus. We also look forward to being able to have 5-day intervention for students in the area of Reading with a full-time reading interventionist this year.

SUSAN DAWKINS, NES: Newberry Elementary will continue to work closely with Newberry College and the Education Department. We are very fortunate to have students from the college assisting our students weekly with a specific focus on reading. Not only do these students work hand in hand with our students but also, they work closely with our Literacy Coach, growing their skills as future educators. This support has been essential in helping some of our students close the gap for their learning loss during Covid.

ZEB REID, NMS: NMS is bringing back the Archery Program. In addition, we have worked very hard to bring back parenting endeavors, such as Donuts for Dads, Muffins for Moms, Breakfast with Grandparents, STEM night, Literacy Night, Parent Institutes & The Taste of Newberry. We had large turnouts in the spring of 2023, and we look forward to hosting during the 2023-2024 school year. Additionally, NMS participated in a community outreach program where we traveled to Grants Apartments delivering boxes of pizza and summer reading novels, jump ropes, basketballs, footballs, and more. We hope to have other community outreach endeavors like this one during the 2023-2024 school year. I am also very excited to announce that we will have two highly qualified assistant principals added to our administrative team. Miss Kristina Cannon, 3X Teacher of the Year has taught English at McCormick High School, Newberry High School, and Mid-Carolina High School, and served as former NMS Curriculum Coordinator. In addition, Dr. Tonya Deese Jeter, former Newberry Middle School, Newberry High School, and Newberry College Basketball Standout is returning to her middle school as Assistant Principal after serving as a lead science teacher at Newberry High School.

ALLISON STRIBBLE, WCS: Our goals this year are to focus on building a relationship with each student to help ensure their academic achievement. We want to foster a love of learning in each student. Our school has so many great things happening, and we want to celebrate our students, school, and community.

SARAH HARVEY, NHS: We will have some new administrators and teachers. We will be implementing programs this year to target the individual learning experience for students. We will also be working more closely with our feeder middle and elementary schools in order to serve our community better.

NEDA EPPS, NAS: Newberry Alternative School is welcoming a new SPED teacher to our

team. This individual comes to us with over 30 years of educational experience. Also, we are welcoming a new Lab Monitor, a graduate of the School District of Newberry County.

ROBERTA KINARD, NAE: Newberry Adult and Continuing Education offers career training in high demand occupations such as manufacturing. Currently, we are developing Healthcare and Commercial Drivers License (CDL) career training programs. This school year, we will offer free customized academic and workplace trainings to businesses and employers in Newberry County to build and strengthen the workplace. A variety of trainings are offered including basic and intermediate computer skills classes, leadership training, or job specific training.

NEWBERRY LIVING: What are your school’s goals this year?

JOY FORE, BSE: 1. To provide a nurturing and inclusive learning environment that empowers ALL students to embrace their unique identities, cultivate their passions, and achieve academic excellence. 2. To foster a love for learning, instill values of kindness and empathy, and equip our students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be college and career ready. 3. Through collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to individual growth, we strive to inspire lifelong learners who are confident, compassionate, and prepared to make a positive impact in our community.

KIMBERLY MACK, LME: When I think of “Home”, I think of cherished memories and traditions, I hear laughter and encouragement, I feel safe, comforted, and a sense of belonging, but most of all I feel embraced in love and happiness. As we step foot into the 2023-2024 school year, our goal is to evoke this feeling to all our students, families, and staff through cultivating strong relationships, ensuring that students feel safe, valued, respected, and empowered. We will challenge and celebrate one another, provide students with a learning environment where they feel safe to take risks, and most of all, feel excited and loved. Little Mountain Elementary goes far beyond the four walls of our historic building. It’s where we put down roots and grow with one another – Home on the Mountain…it’s where the HEART is!

LINDSEY FOLK, PGE: Our primary goal is also our vision for our school, which is “Learn Today to Lead Tomorrow”. This doesn’t just apply to our students, but also our staff. To meet this goal, we will focus on positive teacher-student-family relationships, enhanced communication, teamwork and collaboration, cultivate a positive school climate, and promote opportunities for our staff and students to cultivate a love for learning.

JONATHAN ABNEY, GES: At Gallman, our goals are three: Respect, Success, and Responsibility. Our students, faculty, and community will continue to pursue these goals to ensure a successful 2023-2024 school year!

KELLY FOLK, RES: This year we want to focus on character building and really focus on social emotional learning with our students across all curricular areas.

SUSAN DAWKINS, NES: NES will continue to build upon the foundational ideas of student engagement, best practices for instruction and analyzing essential data to shape our decision making for the 2023-2024 school year. Our staff, students, and families are ready to work extremely hard. We can’t wait to share the great things that will take place this year!

ZEB REID, NMS: Our NMS Faculty and Staff want to provide each student with a quality education and improve student achievement in each academic content area. Our NMS Athletics team enjoyed championships in volleyball, boys’ basketball, and football in 2023 & were runner-up conference champions in girls’ basketball. We plan to compete for championships in all athletic competitions and we are excited about the addition of Coach Marzarella, the new NMS cheer coach. Mr. O’Brien, Choral Director, and Ms. Gantt, Band Director are known for outstanding performances, and we will continue to have top tier chorus and band performances at NMS. Mrs. Gracie Peck helped raise thousands of dollars in grants throughout the 2022-2023 school year and we are very excited about our Pug Mill and artistic projects Mrs. Peck will be implementing in the 23-24 school year.

ALLISON STRIBBLE, WCS: We welcome our new staff members this year: Courtney Clevenger-1st grade, Chasity Hamilton-3rd grade, Eiko Hendrix- Literacy Coach, Abbigail Crosby- Elementary Music, Taylor Gray- Elementary Art, Maggie Hydrick- high school science, C.J. Saverance- high school English, and Alida Maffett- high school English.

SARAH HARVEY, NHS: Our main priority is to focus on the individual gifts and needs of each student so that they are supported in their journey to excellence. One positive relationship at a time, we will create a culture of student-centered education.

NEDA EPPS, NAS: Newberry Alternative School’s goal is to enhance students’ academic

skills/performance in reading, writing, and math to prepare them for college and career readiness.

ROBERTA KINARD, NAE: Newberry Adult Education staff members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our school and are passionate about assisting students achieve their goals. Our school offers a variety of classes to individuals 18 or older including GED, High School Diploma, English as an Additional Language, Computer Skills, and Workforce Preparation classes. We also offer classes to individuals with a high school diploma who are interested in improving or learning new academic skills in reading, math, or writing. Additionally, our school serves as an official testing center for WIN, WorkKeys, GED, and Paraprofessional testing. Our goal this year is to reach and serve a wider range of individuals in need of the services we provide and to prioritize student success, community engagement, and continuous improvement in adult education in Newberry County.


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