Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week column deviates from our format a little this week to recognize Lee County School’s Principal of the Year, B.T. Bullock Elementary’s Stefanie Clarke.
Mrs. Clarke has served as the principal at Bullock for six years, and was the school’s assistant principal for a year before that. Previously, Mrs. Clarke was a teacher of 3rd graders and 5th graders at schools in Apex and Kansas City. She began her career in administration by interning at Tramway Elementary.
Prior to her career in education, Mrs. Clarke earned a degree in business administration and worked in advertising, before making a life-changing decision to join the Peace Corps. Mrs. Clarke was assigned to work in the Kingdom of Tonga and says the experience of working with children helped her to realize her calling in life. From the Peace Corps, Mrs. Clarke earned a second bachelors degree, this time in Elementary Education. She soon followed that up by gaining a Masters of School Administration from NC State University.
Under Mrs. Clarke’s leadership, Bullock has cultivated a reputation for creativity and it’s penchant for thinking outside the box. A recent notable activity involved splitting the entire school population into “housing units” at Bullock’s very own “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” as way to foster teamwork and camaraderie. Mrs. Clarke is eager to share the credit for such activities, saying “I have strived to cultivate a culture at Bullock that empowers my staff to dream big for the sake of our students. The great things we have in place for our students are not my ideas. These ideas are the brainchild of educators who want to engage students and raise the bar on expectations. They are collaborative efforts by teams of people who are innovative and creative. I have a staff that is comfortable bringing new ideas forward and have the work ethic to execute.”
Mrs. Clarke notes that “working with children is my passion and calling,” and it is this passion that has helped to make Bullock a special place for its students, teachers and staff members. Mrs. Clarke expounds on her philosophy, commenting “I really come into work every day with a focus on our mission – to love, to learn and to lead. We are all focused on really getting to know our students and helping them develop the tools they need for success, regardless of barriers. I feel so blessed to be a part of this incredible school.”