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"Making Each Person Feel Welcomed and Valued"
Katie McGregor is the Assistant Principal of the Year for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
MAY 21, 2021 – Katie McGregor is the Assistant Principal at Jefferson Elementary.
As one of five finalists for Assistant Principal of the Year, she was watching the 2021 Virtual Core Awards. As different people spoke, she was thinking about how many talented people work for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
That contributed to her surprise when she was named Assistant Principal of the Year.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was completely humbled.”
For many people watching the awards, one of the highlights was her two children coming in and standing next to her while she was giving her impromptu acceptance speech.
Debbie McIntyre, who was named Principal of the Year at the 2020 Core Awards, is the Principal at Jefferson.
“Katie McGregor is a true joy to work beside of at Jefferson Elementary School!” McIntyre said.
“I am so very proud of her accomplishments as our Assistant Principal and now as the WS/FCS Assistant Principal of the Year!”
“Mrs. McGregor's passion for students and teaching drives her to be a committed, supportive, and an enthusiastic Assistant Principal. Her experience as an Instructional Facilitator and National Board Certified Teacher guides her in supporting our teachers - she remains a teacher at heart.”
“As our Assistant Principal, she has leads in many areas but the one that is most special to me is her work to initiate our international student flag team in which students represent their family's country and heritage by carrying their country's flag and wearing their cultural attire. Our flag team leads most of our assemblies and events with much pride as the song ‘Wave Your Flag’ plays. Mrs. McGregor has guided our student leaders to embrace our cultural differences and to celebrate the beautiful diversity within our school.”
“Mrs. McGregor loves people and this shines through her work each day. She is a people person and truly makes each person feel welcomed and valued in our school. She has built amazing relationships with our students, families, and staff. She is loved and respected by all!”
“I remember after her AP interview with our team, one member stated, ‘Mrs. McGregor would be someone that I could go talk with about anything. She is so easy to talk with.’ This comment is so very true of Katie McGregor. She builds relationships naturally that last a lifetime with people.”
“Katie is a confident speaker and so very bright! She will be a positive spokesperson who represents all the incredible Assistant Principals across our district! Her message about what makes a successful school – our teachers – is so very true and she works daily to encourage and guide our teachers as they lead in their classrooms.”
“Our school is so very thankful for Mrs. McGregor!”
McGregor grew up in Guilford County. She has a brother, Charlie, who is two years younger. Their parents are Harold and Mary Jane Beavers.
“We are so fortunate to have been gifted the parents we have,” she said.
They taught their children the importance of being kind and of treating everyone as if they are family.
Her parents had everything to do with her becoming the person she is.
“I made it because of my parents. It’s that simple.”
McGregor is married to Ryan McGregor, who is a firefighter for the Greensboro Fire Department. He is also the owner of Ryan’s Lawn Care.
When it came time to name their son, they named him Charles Travis after her brother and her husband’s brother.
Their daughter Holland is named in honor of her childhood tutor Sidney Holland.
“Mrs. Holland had a remarkable impact on me. She instilled a love for learning in me.” McGregor said.
Growing up, McGregor always knew she wanted to be a teacher.
“I have always adored children,” she said.
Others in the Beavers family attended Wake Forest University, so that was her first choice and that’s where McGregor went to major in Elementary Education.
After graduating in 2005, she became a kindergarten teacher and fifth-grade teacher at Lewisville Elementary. After seven years there, she headed to Diggs-Latham Elementary as the PLT (Professional Learning Teams) Facilitator. In 2014, she became the Instructional Facilitator there.
She liked doing everything she could to support teachers.
“I loved working in the trenches with teachers,” McGregor said.
McGregor routinely reaches out to students. One student she reached out to at Diggs-Latham was Micheal Missi, a fourth-grader from the Congo.
The moment she met him, McGregor said to herself, “This student deserves someone in his corner.”
Over the years, they kept in touch and, as of today, Micheal is just like family. He is now a student at Reynolds High.
With plans to become an administrator, McGregor earned first a master’s degree in Elementary Education and then a School Administration License at Gardner-Webb University.
“I wanted to get my license in administration because I am always looking to grow. I wanted to impact students on a larger scale.”
McGregor thinks that life has a lot to do with timing, with the right opportunity presenting itself at the right time.
For her, how she and her husband met illustrates that. They went to the same middle and high schools in Guilford County. She liked him a lot. As far as she could tell, she didn’t really register with him.
After graduating, she headed off to live her life. After she graduated from college, they bumped into each other at a baseball game. This time, she did make an impression. He asked her out.
“At last,” she said.
And that was that.
When the Assistant Principal position at Jefferson Elementary opened, McGregor had not yet shifted into the mode of actively seeking a position as an Assistant Principal. But it seemed like a wonderful opportunity.
“Sometimes opportunities arise when we least expect them.” she said. “And sometimes it’s those kinds of opportunities that end up being the best ones.”
Sonja D’Souza teaches AIG (Academically Intellectually Gifted) third-graders at Jefferson.
“It is such an honor to serve alongside Kate McGregor at Jefferson Elementary School,” D’Souza said.
She then quoted Roald Dahl, the author of such books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
“I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage, or bravery, or generosity, or anything else… Kindness—that simple word. To be kind—it covers everything, to my mind. If you’re kind that’s it.”
“Kindness and humility is what I believe defines Katie the most,” D’Souza said.
“She sees the best in YOU and she makes sure you know it too. I like to think of her as a storyteller – someone who knows or can see a beautiful ending to a story still untold. By the time the story ends, time and wisdom give way for new resolve; knowing that the student leaving her office leaves with a renewed sense of self and purpose. Always seeing the best in you, no matter what, no room for judgment, and to teach you to do the same, is what Katie McGregor does best.”
“Not a day goes by where she does not make it a point to connect and visit with students and teachers to acknowledge them for their work, their achievements and contributions to the school and community. You know you are loved when you hear your name being called aloud for all to hear with such genuine excitement by your Assistant Principal, Katie McGregor every time she sees you.”
“I join the ranks of many when I simply state what an honor it is to serve alongside Katie McGregor at Jefferson Elementary School.
McGregor describes herself as a “people person.” During the school day, she believes in “choosing people over paperwork.” That means, when she goes home, she may have to deal with some of the paperwork she set aside while interacting with people.
Neither she nor McIntyre can count on being done with school when they are at home. Some text or phone call may alert them to something that needs to be dealt with.
By no means is she complaining.
“We are extremely fortunate to do what we do,” McGregor said.
When her time is her own, she likes to spend it with her family and with friends.
“I love hanging out with friends,” she said.
She also enjoys reading such children’s books as The One and Only Ivan and Charlotte’s Web. At the moment, a copy of A Cherokee Feast of Days: Daily Meditations by Joyce Sequichie Hifler sits on the desk in her office. When she has a moment, she opens it first thing in the morning to start the day off with positive words.
McGregor has been to Europe and would like to take her children there and elsewhere.
“I would like to show my kids the world,” she said.
Sheri King teaches physical education and health at Jefferson.
King quoted Theodore Roosevelt:
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
“Anyone who knows Katie, knows how much she cares,” King said.
“This is one of her strongest attributes as a leader. It's what draws people to her. It's what makes you want to follow and trust her leadership. She encourages you to do your very best and assures you have all the tools you need to be the best teacher you can be.”
“Every evaluation/meeting I've had with Katie starts or ends with, ‘How's your family?’ Another staff member recently said, ‘If she needs me to be there, I will definitely be there.’"
“I've seen her make very difficult decisions having to consider policies and procedures, and how various decisions will affect everyone involved. She embraces diversity and seeks for others to do the same. She strives to know everyone's name and something about each person, both staff and students.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to work with Katie.”
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