Becoming a school principal was not on Holly Bailey's radar when she began her teaching career.
But she knew she loved children, and she loved making a difference in their lives. Bailey, who is entering her 22nd year in education, might not have seen herself as a school administrator someday, but one of her principals did.
“I always knew I wanted to be in education, and I always knew I wanted to work with students," Bailey said. "As I began teaching, I would say probably by my fourth year, my principal came to me and said, ‘Have you ever thought about being an administrator?’”
She said no. Her principal at the time told her she should.
Now, Bailey has climbed the academic career ladder and for her first year as a principal, she will be at the helm of Pathways Elementary.
Bailey, a graduate of both the University of Central Florida and Stetson University, worked for a decade as a classroom teacher before becoming an elementary school level academic coach for another four years. Then, she worked as an administrative teacher on assignment at Friendship Elementary. The next step in her career led her to
Southwestern Middle School as a principal intern for three years, and then she worked as an assistant principal for another three years.
These are steps toward principalship that Bailey moved through slowly in order to have a strong foundation, she said. She feels that's important to her role. As a teacher, she said she learned how to keep students engaged in the classroom. As an academic coach, she learned about curriculums and testing. As a TOA, she began to learn how to run a facility and stay on top of student safety. Then as an assistant principal, she learned about the remaining administrative duties such as teacher evaluations and cultivating a community.
What's it like becoming a new principal during COVID-19?
“I take it one day at a time," Bailey said. "I just kind of roll with it. What we’re given is what we’re given and we need to make an effective plan to move forward with whatever the guidelines happen to be.”
She also believes every child deserves a champion. As an administrator, you're able to make a difference on a grander scale, she said. It's one of the reasons Bailey, a mom of four, loves being in education.
“I think that it’s takes one person to change the course of any child at any time, and so I just believe that it’s important to be there for all of our students," Bailey said.
She has a lot of pride in Volusia County Schools as well, having graduated from DeLand High School. A "west side girl," she's looking forward to getting to know the local community.
“I’ve heard wonderful things about being a part of the Ormond Beach area, so that’s new for me and I’m excited about that as well,” she said.