Tiffany Newsome (BA 2013 in English with licensure in Education; MSA 2017 in School Administration; Ed.D Candidate 2022 Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations )
Principal of Rashkis Elementary at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in Durham, NC
Tell us about your current job role and employer. What are you currently working on?
I am currently serving as the principal at Rashkis Elementary, which is located in Chapel Hill, NC. My school is a very diverse school with diverse needs. Currently, we have been tackling learning in the blended environment, which means that many of our students are either at home learning from a remote location or they are in-person. We are navigating the challenges of technology all while making sure that we are maintaining a rich and engaging learning experience for all of our students.
What key personal and/or career experiences led you to where you are today?
I have always loved helping people. I remember tutoring other students while I was in high school. I found joy in it. I loved working with people who had been struggling all year long, but then at the end of the year when they passed their End of Grade Tests, they were filled with so much excitement and relief. I also served as a camp counselor and Residential Adviser for Duke Youth Programs. DYP, as it was affectionately called, is a summer program located on the campus of Duke University. This camp really gave me the boost of confidence that I needed to know that I was a leader and that I loved to see students learn and grow. After high school, I went to Wake to study Chemistry initially because I had a love for science as well and had done a science program that got me national recognition. However, during my sophomore year, I realized that my passion for education was much stronger. I pursued English and Education instead. I was offered my first job in Wake County on an early contract in February 2013 before I graduated from Wake. I taught for two years, and others began to see that I was a leader and was destined to do more than just be a teacher. I went to grad school at UNC and obtained my Masters in School Administration. I got a job right out of the program and began my career in administration. I have worked at the high school level, middle school level, and elementary school level, which gives me a well-rounded experience.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job? How do you navigate that challenge?
You are high in demand as a principal, which is great but can seem overwhelming at times. Before you complete a task, you may have several more that come up that seem just as important. Managing my time to get everything completed in a short amount of time can be difficult because you do not get more time to yourself. In order to do this, I live by the google calendar and task managers. These tools are super helpful with keeping me on task.
What advice would you give to Wake Forest graduates about developing their personal life habits after college (finances, health, values, work/life balance)?
Start early and don’t wait. You are in the best place to make a difference. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You do have to have drive and determination. You have talents right now that you can use to help you make your mark in the world.
We know that relationships are important for any kind of development. How do you build and maintain your network?
I make it an investment to attend at least one event per month where I can meet other people in my field. Most of my connections come by talking to be people who know other people who have a similar interests. I also like to go to conferences as well.
Tell us about your mentoring relationships. What impact have these relationships had on your career and life?
Mentorship is a topic of heavy interest for me. My research interests are centered on mentorship particularly for African American women like myself. I would say mentorship has had a major impact in my life. Many of my supervisors have been mentors, but I have also developed peer mentors along my journey in education as well.
What’s next for your career? What future goals or plans are you pursuing?
After I obtain my doctorate, I hope to establish my consulting business in education. My desire is to contract with organizations across the world. I also have interest in being a faculty member at a university that has a strong education program.
Story published in May 2021. For current updates about Tiffany, visit her LinkedIn page.