School principal Ashley Westmoreland and those a-ha moments
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:
As Ashley Westmoreland ‘13 Certification puts it, “The role of education is to serve.” And there’s always work to be done. It’s about knowing the people you serve, having support, and creating the time and space to allow for big conversations about how to promote equity and access.
The “wicked problem” of the COVID-19 pandemic threw up many challenges administrators and educators had to deal with on the fly. It’s not easy, Westmoreland says, but it’s work that’s very worth doing. Through the changing standards and need to plan on the fly, the focus has always been on how to create an educational environment that ensures students can flourish, which means not only supporting students but everyone else at the school.
“As an administrator, one of my number one roles is to support my teachers. If I can do that well, then they can support the little people in their rooms.”
A Winston-Salem native, Westmoreland gained experience working in local schools as a teacher before deciding to take her interest in leadership further and transition to principalship. At UNCG, she was a Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy cohort member, receiving support through the program for a year-long internship to prepare for school administrator work.
For Westmoreland, it’s the a-ha moments, the times where you really connect to a student, that bring it all home. It’s that engagement with those she works with, something buoyed by an education at UNCG she describes best as “authentic” and “hands-on,” that really informs the way she does her work.
“I have relationships with kids and their parents and that is of utmost importance to me. That’s why I do this.”
By Avery Campbell ’20
Photography by Martin W. Kane