1st District’s best education administrator announced

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Faculty at Lawhon Elementary say there’s one thing that Principal Christy Carroll always focuses upon – students.
Carroll was named Administrator of the Year for the 1st Congressional District of Mississippi on Tuesday night. She is now one of four finalists for the state’s award.
“I’ve never worked with anyone who was more concerned with what is good for our students,” said Lawhon Assistant Principal Cindy Pike. “It may inconvenience us, but if we think it is best for students, it is what we’re going to do.”
Carroll is in her third year at Lawhon. She also has taught at Saltillo Elementary and Verona Elementary in the Lee County School System.
“It is such an honor for our school and our district,” Carroll said. “It is not about me.”
Carroll said the focus must be on students, even if adults have to sacrifice. That also means building relationships with students and making them feel comfortable coming to the office.
During morning announcements, she sometimes asks trivia questions that students can come to her office to answer.
“I feel like it is important that the students see you and they feel like you are here to support them,” Carroll said.
“We try to do things to celebrate and recognize them and to just make a connection.”
Instructional coach Marty Clark said that Carroll leads by example. Carroll’s nose and hands are often noticeably cold because of time she’s spent watching children get on and off buses, or patrolling the campus on cold and rainy days, Clark said.
“If it is a cleanup after an event, she is going to be the last one to leave,” said media specialist Janice Garrett. “She is good at taking care of the dirty work.”
Garrett and Pike said that Carroll also will do things to help teachers, like sometimes covering lunch duty so that they can have a special lunch without having to watch students.
Carroll also has a knack for knowing what is going on at the school and remembering the things that need to get done, Clark said.
“I’ve worked with a lot of administrators and not many are as conscientious as she is,” Clark said.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.