By Michelle Cassell
Carrboro – Dr. Helena Thomas is looking forward to starting school on August 28, when she assumes her Carrboro High School Principal role with the students.
“I would definitely say it was the community feel that attracted me to Carrboro High School,” Thomas said.
Thomas has worked as an assistant principal and principal in schools with student populations as high as 3,400. “I was attracted by the size (900 students) and how it is a school that has the best interest of the students in mind. Not just academically, but also their social and emotional well-being as well,” she said.
This will be her eighth year in school leadership and fifteenth in public education. Thomas is a North Carolina native born and raised in New Bern. She is an official Tar Heel as a University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill graduate, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades education. She earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from NC State and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia.
Thomas said her goals during this first year are to gain a comprehensive understanding of Carrboro and to continue to focus on the social and emotional wellness of the students and staff. “I don’t see any major changes because I think it’s important to really understand the community that I am serving and supporting before changes are made,” said Thomas.
At the moment, she does not foresee any significant challenges. “There’s a lot of excitement with the new and I want to build off that. The community has been very supportive and excited about what’s next for Carrboro High School.
The PTSA is a priority with Thomas, who believes in its value and connection to the community. “I’m getting ready to work with the PSTA president to work out a meet and greet with the community next week,” Thomas said. “I want to be ready for a strong start.”
Thomas says she will be working with the school improvement team which includes parents and a student support team. “ I won’t be doing this work alone; they will be part of the shared decision-making,” she said. “I think students are a very important part of the community. I need for them to feel engaged and important.”
Thomas said she would like to share, “I am very excited to be part of this community. I feel welcomed already and I am looking forward to working with staff, the students and the greater community to continue Carrboro High School’s success.”
Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news.