After three years of serving as an assistant administrator at Cuthbertson High School, Warr finally reached her long-term goal last month when Cuthbertson welcomed her as head principal of the school.
As a girl who grew up playing school, education has always been important to Warr. But her real inspiration came from her elementary school principal. “I remember him walking in the hallways and creating a very warm atmosphere,” Warr said. “I knew I wanted to be a principal because of the influence he had on me.”
Warr began her educational career teaching high school English for nine years. She’s always loved the high school atmosphere and working with the high school age. “My successes with literature and writing inspired me to become an English teacher,” she said. “I love the atmosphere of the high school, from the chorus concerts to the band presentations to the Friday night football games and basketball games. I have four wonderful memories (of being a high school student), and I think that’s what drove me to work with high school students.”
When Cuthbertson High School opened in 2009, she left Butler High School in Matthews to become an assistant administrator at the Waxhaw school. “I made the transition out of the classroom and helped open Cuthbertson,” Warr said. “I love the effect administration has on students. I was blessed to get to work with a whole school of students, parents and the community.”
For three years, Warr served as assistant principal of instruction. When former principal Rob Jackson left at the end of the 2011-12 school year to head up the Union County Public Schools communications department, Warr was the choice to take his place.
Jackson was highly acclaimed and loved by many and had received accolades from the state. Although taking over his position might seem like some big shoes to fill, Warr has received merit of her own, being voted the Union County Assistant Principal of the Year for the 2011-12 school year.
“Rob was a tremendous leader who did wonderful things for Cuthbertson. He was an amazing leader and mentor,” Warr said. “I don’t really feel like I have big shoes to fill because I wear a different pair of shoes. I’ve been given so many opportunities and I bring my own vision to the school.”
Because the school is already performing at a high academic level, Warr isn’t out to change a lot of things. Her goal is to work on the small areas where the school can improve, such as incorporating more global learning, increasing the use of technology and supplying teachers will all the materials and resources needed to provide the best instruction for students.
“My strength is technology and curriculum. I have a gift for technology,” Warr said. “Continuing to give students unique opportunities for learning will continuously be a challenge. The media has impacted education, so my job will be to stay on top of current education and provide technology and resources to teachers so they can continue to challenge students, whether it’s in the workplace or secondary education.”
The thing Warr loves the most about education – and what her fondest memories consist of – is watching the students grow and become successful learners. “My favorite moments are the ‘ah-ha!’ moments in the classroom when students have been struggling with a concept and they have their ‘ah-ha!’ moment where the light bulb goes off,” she said. “I love witnessing those as an administrator. There’s nothing more powerful than a student getting something … and seeing them full of pride that they understand it.”
Warr has been the head of the school for a little more than a month now, and she feels the transition has been a smooth one. Teachers, parents and the community seem to have “welcomed me with open arms,” she said, and have helped make adjusting to her new role easy.
“My experiences as assistant principal at this school made the transition an easy one,” Warr said. “I credit that to Mr. Jackson, but also to our staff. We have an amazing staff at Cuthbertson. I could not have been welcomed any more by our staff than I have. They’re always asking if they can help.”
Looking ahead to the 2012-13 school year, Warr’s main goal is to keep developing relationships with students, parents, staff and the community, and to continue building upon an already solid foundation. “We should never want to be complacent in being (a good school),” she said. “My vision for the school is to continue to build on all the successes we’ve had with academics, athletics and fine arts … since opening in 2009.”