kelly withers elc alum south rowan high
Fundamental standards for World History are mapped on the walls of the data room. Photo by Analisa Sorrells/EducationNC

Congratulations to Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations Department alum Kelly Withers, who was featured in this Education NC story about her great work as principal of South Rowan High School.

Before Withers became principal at South Rowan High five years ago, data was nonexistent. But over the course of her first few years as principal, the school transformed from hardly acknowledging data to weaving it into every single thing it does. It took time, effort, patience, and a lot of strategy — but now the school can’t imagine where they’d be without that shift.

“Going from five years ago to today, it’s just like we’re a completely different school,” said Assistant Principal Amy Wise. “We have purpose now with what we’re doing.”

When Withers arrived at South Rowan High, she shared information with the school’s faculty and staff on what key data points looked like and where they stood on a variety of metrics.

“Teachers looked at me like: What? It was apparent they had not really had that conversation previously, even at a really surface level,” said Withers. “We had to step back and talk about it differently.”

To begin shifting teacher’s mindsets around the role and purpose of data, Withers and her administrative team decided to hold data conferences with every teacher in the building. Teachers were given a presentation template and asked to fill it in with a range of data about themselves and their students — including their own attendance rate, their students’ attendance rate, discipline data, failure rate, and reflections on their strengths and areas for growth.

Read more about Dr. Withers’ impact on South Rowan High School here. We are proud to see our UNC Greensboro School of Education alumni doing such fantastic work in their fields!