Welcome Back Dr. Satterfield

Q&A with the New Principal of Tucker Middle School

InTucker-June2022 A portrait of Dr. Deborah Satterfield.What brought you back to Tucker?

The opportunity to work in a space that allows me, through collaboration, the chance to continue strengthening and building the relationships between the schools within the Tucker cluster is what brought me back to this community. Schools are the hub of any community. I'm excited to work with other Tucker stakeholders to support and assist our award-winning schools within the Tucker Cluster in exceeding their potential growth. Not everyone is fortunate enough to help shape our future; as an educator, I have the honor and privilege as Tucker Middle school's principal to play an integral part in what is already proven to be a thriving learning environment.

In what ways do you plan to implement support for not only students but also teachers and staff?
I plan to support students by creating a nurturing learning environment that provides structure and consistency. The past two years have been unsettling and caused unprecedented life-changing events. My goal is to offer students a space that addresses their unique academic and social-emotional needs while assisting them in reaching their full potential as they cultivate a desire to be life-long learners that impact humanity positively.

Teachers and staff play an integral part in implementing plans and goals for student achievement. I have found the best way to support students is to help the individuals who have direct contact with learners. Student success occurs when staff members feel they have a collective voice in decisions and understand and work in concert to obtain identified goals.

I recognize that retaining quality teachers is not easy. Still, despite national statistics, Tucker Middle has done a great job of building a solid culture of dedicated teachers willing to go the extra mile. My goal is to continue supporting teachers and staff who prepare students for the future by being a listener who establishes relationships and is fair and consistent with all staff members.

What is your proudest accomplishment as a principal?
My proudest accomplishment as a principal is hard to pinpoint because there have been countless moments when I beamed with pride throughout my career. Each time a student or staff member reached a targeted goal, there was a reason for celebration.

During my tenure at Wesley International Academy Charter School, I led the school in increasing professional learning opportunities for teachers. Additionally, the charter school developed into a community of learners under my leadership. The school transitioned from 67% of staff with out-of-field teaching certificates to 67% with in-field certification. Another 21% of homeroom staff enrolled in teacher education and advanced degree college programs. In addition to ongoing professional learning opportunities, Wesley's gifted endorsed teachers increased from 2% to 63% of gifted homeroom teachers in three years. There is ongoing professional development training in implementing researched-based instructional practices and effective ways to use student data to drive instruction.

While serving as principal at Midvale, the school's overall CCRPI score increased from 63.3 to 80.6. The school was recognized as a Title I school for improving students' academic performance. Additionally, I led the process in Midvale, becoming the first elementary school in Georgia with both IB and STEM accreditations.

Tell us about your educational experience prior to becoming a school principal.
As a special education teacher, I was honored and recognized as a Teacher of the Year recipient. My work as a teacher leader allowed me to collaborate with parents and teachers to create individualized instruction that met my students' unique learning and behavioral needs in grades kindergarten through seventh.

As a guidance counselor, I worked cooperatively with teachers, parents, and students to maintain a favorable school climate and promote positive school morale. Additionally, I created and implemented school-wide attendance initiatives, which resulted in Dresden Elementary consistently meeting and exceeding attendance criteria for AYP. As the school counselor, I performed monthly parenting workshops that increased parent involvement and engagement.

As an assistant principal, I built partnerships with school staff and stakeholders to develop instructional programs that supported the district curriculum and encouraged student growth. During my tenure at Fernbank Elementary, I collaborated with teachers on ways to utilize data and created purposeful instruction through the IB framework that resulted in Fernbank Elementary obtaining its highest CCRPI score (95.5).

What was the biggest lesson you took away from the pandemic, either personally or administratively?
Personally, the pandemic forced me to slow down and reflect on how valuable life is and the need to extend grace and compassion to those around me. We were faced with trying times as we worked with families looking to balance learning at home and school. Hopefully, we have weathered the worst of the pandemic, and now we can move toward not forgetting but embracing our new normal with a kinder and gentler approach to life.

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