FLORENCE, S.C. – For first-year Southside Middle School Principal Shand Josey, her dream for “one day” is now becoming a reality.
Josey, who comes from a family of educators, said she has always wanted to be an educator and has had aspirations of becoming an administrator early in her career.
“I would say ‘one day I want to be a principal,’ ‘one day I want to be able to do this,’ ‘one day I want to be able to impact teachers and students in a really positive way,’ and that one day is now becoming my day one pretty soon, and I’m pretty excited about that,” Josey said.
Josey has taught in several school districts and spent more than 10 years as a teacher and administrator in Florence One Schools. She has worked in schools on all three sides of town: Royall Elementary School, John W. Moore Intermediate School, Williams Middle School and now Southside Middle School.
Josey said her experience of teaching in several different schools has been the most influential part of her career. She said she has gained a broad perspective on what it takes to move children forward academically.
“That global perspective that I have has shown me it really doesn’t matter where you are, Josey said. “Children are children no matter whether they’re from the west side of town, the north side of town, the south side of town. They all need and want the same things.”
With the upcoming school year approaching, Josey said she has several goals on which she wants to focus. The first is teaching and building student capacity.
Josey said that through focusing on providing a rigorous education for students, they will become innovative, creative thinkers and problem solvers, preparing for them for high school and beyond.
Josey is also focusing on building community within the school, she said.
Middle school is a transition time for students. Many of them are leaving an elementary school they attended for seven years and are going to a new school with several hundred students they’ve never met, she said.
Josey said she hopes to make Southside Middle students feel safe and know that everyone in the building has their best interest at heart. She also said she wants to see them excited to come to school every day to learn.
Josey said she feels that through focusing on those two goals, students will have higher test scores, be ready for high school curriculum and be prepared for future success beyond school.
“I’m excited about the opportunity that we have ahead to build on the foundation that Southside already has, and then with some of the changes and some of the district implementations that we’re having, I’m excited about where we’re going academically and facility wise,” Josey said.
So far, Josey said she has received a warm welcome to the school and support from parents. She said parents are interested in their children’s education and school facility.
“They’re very engaged in making sure that the two years that we have them that they are an integral part of our school and an integral part of their child’s education,” Josey said.
Next week Josey will start her first school day at Southside Middle with 450 seventh-graders starting the school for the first time.
“I’m excited about watching them walk in the building and feel that sense of Southside pride and know that this is going to be their home for the next two years,” Josey said. “I’m most excited about that.”