This week’s Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is the school district’s recently awarded Assistant Principal of the Year — Erika McNickle from Deep River Elementary School. Mrs. McNickle has spent her entire educational career at Deep River. She began as a kindergarten teacher, serving in that position for 6 years while simultaneously working on a master’s degree that would make her eligible to move to an administrative role. After taking a break for a few years to raise a newly adopted daughter, Mrs. McNickle accepted the call from Deep River Principal Amy Lundy and returned to school as it’s new assistant principal — a role she’s held for 6 additional years.
Fall 2020 has been an especially good time at Deep River. On October 30, Mrs. McNickle was part of the school family that was the honored recipient of the coveted Head of Class award, which recognizes the top-performing Lee County elementary school. It’s fair to say that this recognition was a team effort. Mrs. McNickle comments, “Head of Class was very much an honor, and I feel like we’ve been hoping for that and working for that. All schools say they have a family atmosphere, but I literally couldn’t come to work every day without the staff and the people we have. Everyone helps everyone and takes on extra work..”
It’s equally fair to acknowledge the contributions Mrs. McNickle (and Mrs. Lundy) have provided to the school. In Mrs. McNickle’s case, her work ethic and positive attitude are noteworthy. She observes, “You do it and you move forward, and you find the good and you make it good. I never give up. If something’s in my head, I’m pretty strong-minded and I’m going to find a way to make it happen.” One of Mrs. McNickle’s regular responsibilities involves seeing children off safely to their school buses at the end of the day. Heartfelt goodbyes and hugs are commonplace.
All in all, Mrs. McNickle embraces her administrative role, observing, “It’s so much different than being in the classroom. There are more teachers, more students, more parents, more everything. I don’t think it’s for the faint-hearted. You’ve got discipline for all the grades, all the buses to keep up with, helping teachers with teaching strategies, parent phone calls to return and so much more. It’s been such a wonderful experience. Mrs. Lundy has taught me so much along the way and is continually growing me. It’s so great to have someone like her. Deep River is such a good place to be!”