MIDWAY COMMUNITY — Assistant Principal Dondi Hobbs recently received a stack of business cards with her contact information at Midway Elementary School.
It was not long before her phone ranged about the next chapter of her career — principal of Union Elementary School (UES). She no longer needs the cards sitting in her office, which will be empty soon. The journey starting Monday will be her first time working as an head administrator.
“I’m excited to be chosen as the new leader of the school,” Hobbs said Friday about her promotion. “I’m certainly looking forward to working with the community down at Union and the teachers.”
The appointment was approved Monday by the Sampson County Schools (SCS) Board of Education. She will be replacing Dr. Linda J. Carr, who was promoted to the district’s Central Office as Director of Federal Programs. Lisa Reynolds, the current director, is retiring in October.
When it comes to working with teachers, Hobbs expressed that she sees herself as a coach when it comes to academic achievement. She said that responsibility comes with listening to the needs of teachers for their classroom environments.
“We got an academic program in place to do what’s best for the whole child and to make sure they’re successful so they can achieve their goals,” she said. “We’re all crossing that goal line at the same time.
Hobbs was assistant principal of MMS for more than one year. Last year was her first time serving in the leadership position. After spending time at the elementary levels, the middle school experience was new to her. The current school year is her 20th year in education.
Prior to SCS, she was an elementary school teacher in Duplin for six years. Hobbs later came to SCS’s Hargrove Elementary School, where she taught first and third grade students. Next, she became a Transitional Coach for elementary schools, before coming to MMS.
“I have enjoyed every moment here at Midway,” she said about the community, school and parents. “They’ve opened their arms to me and all of the teachers have been very supportive.”
She mentioned how the teachers and leaders formed relationships, which led to student achievements.
“We were so successful with our scores last year and we had a great awesome year,” Hobbs said.
She was inspired to become an educator after having classroom experiences with Julia Dupree, her first-grade teacher at North Duplin Elementary School.
“She was an awesome teacher,” Hobbs said. “From first grade, I knew that I wanted to be in education. I wanted to to be a teacher.”
After graduating from North Duplin High School, she went to Meredith College, where she earned a bachelor’s in child development, with K-6 certification. She obtained her master’s for high school administration from Campbell University. Hobbs is also a National Board Certified Teacher. She currently resides near the Faison area and is married to Kevin Hobbs.
Outside of spending her last moments at MMS, a lot of time was recently spent at UES with students and Carr for the transition.
“They already have a good track record of student achievement,” Hobbs said. “I want to make sure that’s an ongoing thing and that we’re continuing to work on reading.”
Literacy is one of her passions and stressed the importance of making sure students are reading at their grade levels. Hobbs said the best time to teach reading is at the best time to teach reading is at that pre-K through third grade period. She described it as a journey of “720 days” and the prime time for a student to become a successful reader.
“We have that amount of time to focus daily on the task of getting them ready and prepared as a reader,” she said. “Reading is going to help them succeed in life in all areas. I’m a big proponent of literacy in all areas and will do my best to promote that across the school.”
SCS Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said Hobbs is a strong instructional leader.
“She will be a good fit with the Union Elementary School community,” he said. “She is respected by her colleagues and she takes pride in supporting teachers and making sure that the learning environment is optimal for high levels of success.”