Principal Kevin Wheat cultivates an environment of care
North Carolina’s principals and superintendents have done wonderful work, particularly in the face of the pandemic. Many of these school administrators are Spartans, proud alumni of the UNCG School of Education. Each alumnus has a fascinating story and a unique perspective:
An educator is an advocate, and as an administrator you are not only the advocate for your students, but for everyone in the school environment. As Kevin Wheat ’99 MSA ’04 EdD ’17 explains, it’s a bit like being the mayor of a small town. You make the schedule to ensure important conversations and projects happen, and you set the mood for the whole environment. Bringing a positive, can-do attitude is vital, even when a pandemic can make feeling positive its own challenge.
His time as a student at UNCG helped prepare him, both as founding principal of the unique Allen Jay Preparatory Academy and as an administrator during an unprecedented global pandemic. Wheat cites the equity-focused, hands-on education he received in his UNCG program as important to helping him develop the tools to make a difference as an educator and administrator.
“Those of us that came through the program took our passions and our skills into those school buildings, and I think we’ve made some significant changes and continue to do so,” he says.
While studying at UNCG, Kevin was featured in a School of Education promotion with the tagline “We invest in his future so he can invest in theirs.” This is a longtime guiding principle of the school, and of the work of an administrator, Wheat explains. It’s not just about the direct impact of the professor on the student. Through education, through cultivating an environment of care, and through hard work, the impact of educators is paid forward exponentially, going on to inspire new generations who will inspire their own successors far into the future.
By Avery Campbell ’20
Photography by Martin W. Kane