Principal Christy Morrin Interview
by Amber Brant
While Matthews Charter Academy will be opening its doors for the first time this fall, its roots in the educational landscape of southeastern North Carolina run deep — largely due to Principal Christy Morrin.
As the daughter of two educators — a mother who taught fifth grade for many years and a father who directed the high school band before later going into aviation — Christy grew up with a love of learning. Education was very important to her family, and she was inspired early in life to become a teacher herself. As a child she often played school and recalls, “For as long as I can remember that’s all I ever wanted to do, be a teacher.” She really enjoyed helping her mother set up her classroom in preparation for each new school year, but it was just the beginning of a lifelong passion for teaching. In high school, Christy took a Child Development class where she was able to help a Kindergarten teacher for a couple of hours each day. “That was the most amazing experience of my life and it sealed the plan to teach for me. It was in that Kindergarten classroom that I knew I wanted to be a teacher and work in a school.”
Christy grew up in Missouri, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1985 and taught a couple of years before moving to Michigan. There she taught Kindergarten at a private school for seven years before being hired as a “lead” teacher at Mid Michigan Public School Academy — her first charter. The role of “lead” teacher meant she taught full time in a classroom, but was also given leadership responsibilities for mentoring other small groups of teachers as well. She was then promoted to “Academy Director” (which is similar to the “Dean” position at NHA), and began her masters at Grand Valley State University. It was through a friend at GVSU that Christy learned of National Heritage Academies and an open principal position at the very first NHA school — Chandler Woods — where she was hired to become principal in 2001.
After thirteen years in Michigan, Christy learned of a new NHA school slated to open in Mint Hill, North Carolina. The idea of opening a school, hiring her own staff and living in the South was especially appealing to her, so she took a leap and signed on to open Queens Grant school. Now, nearly fifteen years later, she’s thrilled to be opening Matthews just five miles away. While it took three years to complete the application process for this new position, the time allowed her to enjoy the last couple of years with her youngest in high school. Now that her daughter has graduated, Christy says the timing couldn’t be better. “I’m just as excited as I can be about opening Matthews. Getting to start all over again and build on what I’ve learned in the last fourteen years!”
One of Christy’s favorite things about being involved with NHA is the autonomy each school enjoys. “We can do what’s best for our students, what our parents want, even providing extra programming from athletics to musical theater to science olympiad. Each school is based on the flavor of that student population.” She also loves supporting her teaching staff, but to her, the very best part of our schools are the students. “The kids are the best part of my job. I love getting to speak to them by name each morning. I like seeing our students at the grocery store or church. I also love running into former students in the community, catching up with them and finding out how they’re doing. Seeing students out in the community, and being able to support our teachers, it’s just the best.”