The Principal Series featuring Devon Carson of Winterville Charter Academy
Winterville Charter Academy principal Dr. Devon Carson understands the power of parental guidance. He is quick to thank his father, who he considers the most influential person in his life, for teaching him to always have a positive attitude even when faced with a challenge.
"My father taught me to have a solid work ethic, to never give up, and to keep pushing forward until the job is complete," Dr. Carson explained. "He said, ‘work twice as hard as the person sitting next to you and continue to push yourself so you are always surpassing your best - be your own measuring stick for success!’"
With a can-do attitude at the forefront of his mind, it’s no surprise one of Dr. Carson’s favorite moral focus virtues that will be taught at Winterville Charter Academy this year is perseverance. It’s a value he shared with his three daughters as they grew up.
"I think our scholars must have grit and resolve to make it in today’s society," he said. "It is always our job as educators and parents to nurture resiliency within our students."
Dr. Carson remembers a time when he had to be resilient in school as he worked to increase his reading scores in the second grade.
"Ms. Sharpe, my second grade teacher, worked with me daily to improve my reading and comprehension. She challenged me and did not let me give up. She also provided my parents with additional strategies to support my progress at home."
The experience with a dedicated teacher committed to helping him achieve academic excellence is why he wanted to become a principal. His hope is for all of the students at Winterville Charter Academy to make a strong connection with their teacher so they can maximize their full potential.
"I was one of those students who was in the middle and maybe overlooked by some teachers," he said. "I want to make sure each child has an opportunity, and is connected with an adult in our school, even if that adult is me. Interaction with students is one of my favorite aspects of being a principal."
Dr. Carson has served as a principal or assistant principal for the past 12 years, but he started his career as a school counselor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Appalachian State University as well as an education specialist and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Tennessee.
After four years of counseling at two different schools in Tennessee he decided he could impact even more students in a leadership position and began pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Memphis.
When asked what motivates him every day he responded, "Knowing that I can make a difference in a scholar’s life by providing a world-class education."
As he begins to embark on a new chapter in his career as the founding principal of Winterville Charter Academy, Dr. Carson hopes all of his students will take a piece of his father’s advice to heart.
"My wish for every child is to continue to dream; to dream as big as they want. We’re all able to achieve our dreams if we continue to push forward and never give up because anything is possible."