On the second day of school, Vanessa Brown had a busy afternoon after the school buses left the parking lot of Butler Avenue School.
As the principal of the school, Brown has many essential duties such as making sure the curriculum is in order for the academic year. She also has to stay around to make sure bus riders are OK.
“We have to make sure all our babies get home,” Brown said about the safety of BAS students.
For her dedication and work at the school, Brown was recently named Principal of the Year. The announcement was made during Clinton City Schools Opening Day Ceremony.
“I was very surprised,” Brown said regarding the selection process involving school officials.
Superintendent Dr. Stuart Blount said Brown has a tremendous passion for teaching and learning.
“It’s evident in her leadership at Butler Avenue School,” Blount said. “She not only has a passion for her students, but for the professional development of her staff as well. Clinton City Schools is very fortunate to have a leader with Mrs. Brown’s ability in one of our schools.”
At BAS, Brown said it’s her responsibility to make sure her students are proficient in reading. A motto for the school is “You learn to read, so you can read to learn.”
“If they leave here and they don’t have any problems with reading and comprehension,” she said, “they’ll be successful in all the other grades to follow.”
She was glad to receive the honor, but recognized the work of administrators in the school district.
“All of us do a great job,” Brown said.
Along with Assistant Principal Jennifer Pope and a staff she called “excellent,” Brown also credited her husband Charles Brown during the ceremony.
“He has to deal with the late days and when I’m taking work home,” Brown said about her partner. “He’s just real patient with all of that stuff.”
Together, they have one son, Denzel Brown and two daughters, Twanda Moore and Tiffany Kirby.
After graduating from Hobbton High School, the Sampson County native made a decision to become involved with education because it’s an important and meaningful field. She attended North Carolina A&T State University for business administration and graduated from Fayetteville State University in business education. Brown earned her master’s at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Next, she became a teacher at Clinton High School and left the district to become assistant principal at East Bladen High School in Elizabeth. She returned to Clinton to become an assistant principal at BAS and principal at Sampson Middle School. She came back to BAS to lead the school
“I feel like I came back home,” Brown said about helping teachers educate children. “If I retire from here, I’ll be fine with that.”
In addition to leading the school, Brown is also involved with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Rotary International, North Carolina Principals & Assistant Principals Association, NAACP and Poplar Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Faison.
Like many administrators and educators across the state, Brown is looking forward to a new school year.
“To me it gets better and better, especially when you’re at the same place with the same teachers,” Brown said about the place she called home for several years. “There’s great things going on with great teachers and we’re just perfecting a lot of things that we had in place for some time.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.