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Meet Center Line Principal Donell James

Why did you choose education as a profession?

I’ve always had a desire to work with the youth. When I was 16, my first job was being a homework assistant for children at my neighborhood’s community center. I would notice that students often struggled with basic skills and I wanted to help them grow. As time passed, this led to me becoming a substitute for New York City Public Schools. The rest is history.

What is your favorite part of serving as a principal?

My favorite part is getting to make connections with staff and students and having the opportunity to make a positive impact in all of our stakeholders’ lives.

What is the one thing you wish for every child?

I wish for every child to receive a quality education. This means that we can meet every student where they are and move them in the direction of where they need to go!

When you look at your career thus far, what makes you the proudest?

What makes me the proudest is when students who I’ve had an experience to either teach or lead come back and share their success stories. A student who was at Regent Park from 6th-8th grade invited me to her college reveal party. I was her Middle School Dean and we often talked about where she would attend college. The fact that she reached out to me to be a part of that experience let me know that our conversations had an impact. She chose Michigan State!

Did You Know?

A few facts

  • I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
  • I did not learn how to drive until I moved to Michigan in 2005
  • I love to cook!


Masters of Education - Pace University
Masters of Educational Leadership - Grand Valley State University

Favorite Things

  • HOLIDAY:  Thanksgiving
  • MEAL:  Anything my wife cooks
  • SPORT:  Basketball
  • CANDY:  Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
  • MOVIE:  Coach Carter

Favorite Inspirational Quote:

“There is no progress without struggle.”
     - Frederick Douglas