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Dawkins joins OP Earle faculty as assistant principal

Published 9:59pm Thursday, July 31, 2014

By Claire Sachse

Shameka Dawkins, 34, is now on the job as assistant principal at OP Earle Elementary School in Landrum.  Her appointment was approved in March by the District 1 Board of Trustees, and her first day on the job was July 1.

Her duties will include coordinating bus schedules and resolving discipline issues. She will also serve as coordinator for Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, administered twice a year from kindergarten through fifth grade; eligibility testing for the gifted and talented program; and Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) testing for third through fifth graders. Additionally, Dawkins will coordinate school volunteers, textbook distribution, field trips and teacher evaluations.

While attending Georgia Southern University, Dawkins knew she wanted a career that would allow her to work with children. She thought that might be nursing, until she realized in a human anatomy class that an education degree would be a better fit.

“My personality is that I like to lead,” said Dawkins, “and I have a love for kids.” She switched majors and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education.  She taught first and third grades in Jacksonville, Fla.  and Atlanta, Ga. for five years.

Teaching students to read in first grade was the most difficult and challenging aspect of her time in the classroom. Dawkins said that as soon as children could learn to read, she could see them unlock so much more potential.

She knew early in her career that educational leadership was the career track for her, and she soon finished a master’s degree from the University of North Florida. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina.

Prior to coming to OP Earle, Dawkins served seven years as the assistant principal at Woodruff Primary in District 4. She is excited to begin a new year at a new, smaller school that is also in a smaller community than the one she left.

“I like the small community feel here. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., so I’m a large city girl, so it’s funny that I work in a smaller community. I like the size of OP Earle. I try my best to know all the students by name,” said Dawkins.

Dawkins spends her spare time with her husband, Ty Dawkins, who is the principal at Chapman High School, and their two young sons. She also serves as the board chairman for the Butterfly Foundation, a Spartanburg nonprofit that prepares unemployed, underemployed, homeless, and previously incarcerated adults for careers in the food service industry.

“My goal at OP Earle,” said Dawkins, “is to make sure all students learn. We’re preparing students not just for their lives in Landrum, but we’re preparing them for competition nationally, and globally.”

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