Connie Stovall has done just about everything under the sun in education and is excited for a change of pace when she takes the reins as principal at Dawson County Junior High School in July.
“I grew up in a small town and this was the size district I was used to working in until I came to Forsyth,” said Stovall. “To be able to have an opportunity to go back and work in a small school with a small staff and with a small group of kids, I just can’t wait.”
After switching careers from accounting to education, Stovall has taught elementary and middle grades, gifted classes, math, science, language arts and social studies. She’s been an assistant principal and principal and is currently the Director of Secondary Education with Forsyth County Schools.
But Stovall says she was most happy working side by side with teachers and students as principal.
“This was about being happy. I was the happiest when I was a school principal,” said Stovall about being named the new principal of DCJHS. “People who know me best know that this is what I want to do. This is the work of my heart.”
Being Director of Secondary Education means that Stovall lends support to multiple schools, which can become a big task in a county as populated as Forsyth. Spending time going from school to school took away something Stovall loved most about being a principal.
Stovall talked with her mother about her decision to return to the role of principal, but her mother had a hard time understanding why her daughter missed being around kids, after all she was visiting schools constantly.
For Stovall, it was simple: She missed the daily interaction and collaboration with teachers and students.
“The problem was I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. Even though I visited in the classroom and I might sit down beside a kid and have a conversation with them, they didn’t really know who I was,” said Stovall. “There’s nothing like when you walk in a building and a kid comes running up to you and says ‘Hey, let me tell you what I just did.’”
Being closely connected with teachers and students and being able to implement change to improve resources and opportunities for the junior high is something Stovall cares about deeply.
“When you’re the principal of the school you can really think about the changes you need to make,” said Stovall. “You can make it happen and you can make it happen almost instantly.”
Taking the helm of the junior high will come with a new set of challenges for Stovall, as she will be working with eighth and ninth graders due to the recent realignment, but she is up for unique challenge. She’s always believed that ninth graders are more like eighth graders and hopes that she can help create an environment where ninth graders feel good about where they are and provide a smooth transition for them when they enter high school the next year.
And with the 1:1 iPad initiative, Stovall wants to further integrate technology into academics to give students more opportunities to engage in the global world. She also hopes to expand more high school credit opportunities to eighth graders and provide those opportunities inside the junior high building.
While she has a few months before she begins her term as principal, Stovall is ready to learn the ropes so she can best serve the students of Dawson County.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about being happy and loving your work and getting up every morning and saying ‘I can’t wait to go to school,’” said Stovall.