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Enota school principal dreamed of pencils, highlighters as a kid

POSTED: September 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA /The Times

Susan Culbreth is the new principal at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy. Before coming to Gainesville, Culbreth was a teacher in Cobb County for nine years and a principal at Buchanan and Abney elementaries for 10 years.

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When Susan Culbreth was a kid, Christmas came in August.

Instead of dreaming of sugar plums and toys, Culbreth dreamt of colorful highlighters, yellow pencils and lined notebook paper.

"I always got excited about getting school supplies," she said. "I definitely believe teaching is a calling."

Culbreth, a Tennessee native, has taken the helm of Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy this year following the retirement of former principal Sally Meadors. Meadors was at Fair Street school for 24 years as a teacher and principal and was principal of Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy for six years.

Culbreth taught second grade in Cobb County for nine years before serving as an elementary school principal in Paulding and Haralson counties for a total of 10 years.

The mother of three daughters in their 20s said she was attracted to the small city school system’s sense of community. Upon starting at Enota on July 1, the avid Georgia football fan said she immediately realized she was taking the place of a "beloved" principal.

"It’s not hard to be a principal here because Sally Meadors left me a wonderful school with a great staff and great parent involvement," Culbreth said. "It’s a great place to come in and be a support for the teachers and the community."

Culbreth said it’s refreshing to work with "servant leaders" like Gainesville schools interim Superintendent Merrianne Dyer, who also aims "to do what we need to do to get children a good education." Culbreth said she thinks she works with many teachers and parents who are problem solvers at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy.

"It’s really a center of this part of the community, and that’s refreshing in 2008," she said. "... It has enthused me. I love what I do. Here it’s such a positive environment."

Culbreth said she aims to see every student at the Enota elementary school graduate from at least high school. She also pointed out some areas she hopes to improve during her tenure as principal.

She said she hopes to help teachers get better at teaching and assessing progress in the Georgia Performance Standards, which teach mastery of subjects rather than the former state curriculum, which required a less deep understanding of concepts. Also, she said she aims to target improving Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students who have special needs, are economically disadvantaged or are English language learners.

While calling for her students to raise the bar in their academic performance, the principal is also working to improve her education. She’s working on her doctoral dissertation on parent and community involvement in schools.

Culbreth said she hopes to earn her doctorate in educational leadership from Sanford University by the end of December.



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