Brown’s introduction to charter schools began on a whim. Melanie Stack (née Williams), her assistant principal at Durham Public Schools, was leaving for PreEminent Charter School in Raleigh, N.C., and Brown, despite being unfamiliar with the dynamics of a charter school, gave it a shot and was enamored. So much so that when Stack encouraged her to expand her horizons within the NHA network after a few years building her foundation as a teacher at PreEminent, Brown was apprehensive.
That leap of faith set Brown off on a path that has given her the opportunity to achieve professional growth and share her abilities with several NHA schools. Her stops include:
- Sixth grade math teacher, PreEminent Charter School
- Seventh grade math teacher, PreEminent Charter School
- 3-5 grade inaugural dean, Wake Forest Charter Academy
- Middle school dean, Wake Forest Charter Academy
- Principal, Wake Forest Charter Academy
- Founding principal, Summit Creek Academy
After gaining crucial baseline experience at PreEminent, Brown got a first-hand look at starting a school from scratch as the 3-5 dean at Wake Forest Charter Academy when it opened in 2014. Two years later, she moved up to principal when the middle school opened. Her current position as principal at Summit Creek came as a curveball; she was set to be the principal at North Oak Academy in Durham, N.C., but the opening was delayed. While in limbo, she gained experience at an education level she was lacking as K-2 dean at another NHA school, Research Triangle Academy in Durham, before another door opened.
When the opportunity to lead the opening in 2021 at Summit Creek presented itself, Brown took it.
“I’m really big on when someone gives you an opportunity to take it and grab a hold of it, and if it’s your purpose, then everything else will align with it. That has come true here in the Greensboro area,” she said. “Anything that’s a passion for an educator who is looking to spread their wings and really increase their influence outside of the classroom, there are opportunities for that in NHA.”
The growth has been two-fold for Brown as her children attend NHA schools and are on track to be part of the first graduating classes of a school their mom helped start.
“Their moral compasses are developing with our curriculum,” she said. “I’m just hoping that they feel the passion and why we chose NHA for our family. Not only for mommy’s job, but for them, for their education.”
Brown has thrived in various communities and levels of education because of her ability to provide an element of customer service to students, parents, and staff. She understands that building lasting relationships impacts a school’s enrollment and the satisfaction of those involved.
“Dr. Brown is an energetic and compassionate leader who truly works to serve both the scholars and staff in her building,” said Zack Perfitt, who worked with Brown at Wake Forest. “She continuously strives to stay a step ahead so she can continue to support her staff’s development. In addition, Dr. Brown goes above and beyond to serve the families in her community and she takes great care in building positive relationships with both parents and students.”
Keep up the excellent work, Dr. Brown!
Summit Creek Academy is a free public charter school in Browns Summit, N.C., serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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