I began teaching at Dora High School in 1989. Hired by Jim Crump, I can honestly tell you that I was ready to solve "all the world's problems." It didn't take me long to determine that teaching was not easy----and believe me it has changed in ways that I could never imagine. Teachers are to be revered for what they do everyday.
My first job was to teach English and Speech (then called Oral Communications). I had planned to be an English teacher, but I had no idea how I would love teaching and modeling public speaking. The next two years were spent in the Special Ed. classroom as the state suffered through proration. I appreciated the fact that Mr. Crump allowed me to go back into the regular classroom as soon as possible, although I can now look back on those days as a learning experience.
I met my husband after teaching his brother. We married in 1993. My children were born in 1994 and 1996. It's interesting that I am able to talk to them about teaching certain students before they were even thought about. They have been attending DHS ballgames (football, basketball, baseball) since they were born and have been going to and assisting with pageants and proms almost as long. My youngest, Kaysen, came up with the theme for our final Miss Dora High Pageant, which I directed and produced for 6 years, in 2006. The theme was "Do You Believe in Magic?"
The moral of my story is that I do believe in magic. Three years ago I decided to return to school (something that my mother had been trying to get me to do for fifteen years). In the midst of that, some very special people convinced me that I could do more and that I should. After working closely with SACS (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and visiting several schools in the area to serve on various teams, I chose to go into Educational Leadership. I am now one of two assistant principals at Sumiton/Elementary Middle School---the largest school in Walker County. I never dreamed that this was where I would be or that I would still be learning so much after teaching for so long. Learning is truly magical.
I will not say that my transition has been easy nor was the road that led me to this place in my life; but I know that the journey has been awesome. There are so many people to thank and so many friendships that formed from my time at DHS. I consider it a privilege to have worked for/with and taught some of the most wonderful people in the world and look forward with anticipation to my future as an educator.
Paige A. Skalnik, Assistant Principal
Sumiton Elem./Middle School