Good Things Come in Pairs: Mr. Pugh and Mrs. Kennedy

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Good Things Come in Pairs: Mr. Pugh and Mrs. Kennedy

Osaivbie Uhunmwuangho, ENN Staff

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Students are not the only people that can be considered ‘new’ at a school. The term ‘new student’ can be adjusted to ‘new math teacher,’ ‘new lunch lady,’ or in the case of this school year, ‘new Assistant Principal’ and ‘new Academic Associate Principal.’

Ronald Pugh, Assistant Principal (AP)

Before accepting the job at Lake Ridge, Ronald Pugh, assistant principal, worked as an assistant principal at a local high school. Pugh says that his form of leadership is very efficient because it allows for multiple people to work together, which leads to achieved goals.

“I was the assistant principal at Cedar Hill high school for the last four years. My leadership type is collaborative. I like to work with others and get them involved in shared decision making. It’s very effective because high school environments are pretty large, so one person can’t do everything. It definitely requires a team in order for it to be effective. As many people as you can get involved in doing the work, the better,” said Pugh.

Pugh has an extensive education background. He worked as a science teacher who taught various subdivisions of the subject. Because of this, he says having an occupation in the school system is natural to him, despite studying in a different field.

“I actually, at one point in time, wanted to be a doctor. I did two years of medical school. Education

Tristan Mayshaw
Assistant Principal Pugh interacts with a student during his second week on the job.

has been natural for me. I used to be a science teacher and taught chemistry, biology, physics, and anatomy physiology. I’ve always tutored and been involved in the teaching part of it, so I feel like what I’m doing right now is my calling, so I don’t look at it as a job,” explained Pugh.

With his accomplished experience in education and the school environment, it is understandable that other places would like him to work for them. After he ultimately chose Lake Ridge as a place to work, school staff and students gave Pugh a warm welcome.

“I’ve had other opportunities to go different places for job offers. Some districts called me about even being principal, but it just didn’t feel right. So after praying about it, it might sound cliche, but I just felt it,” said Pugh. “One of the first things I noticed was how nice everyone was, even the students. I felt welcomed since the first time I stepped in the building. Teachers were so nice, and would come up to introduce themselves to me. The students would come up, curious about who I was, and introduce themselves. It’s a great environment,” said Pugh.

Assistant principals are known for how they deal with students. Pugh says that when disciplining students, he puts himself in their shoes, trying to relate to them by thinking about what it’s like to be a teenager. After doing this, he insists on letting them know the repercussions of their improper behavior.

“Students can benefit from my arrival by me being a role model, being understanding, and treating them with mutual respect, while understanding that the poor mistakes and decision making I might have had when I was their age and never forgetting what it was like to be a teenager. That’s actually the approach I take with discipline. Some things they’re going to do require a consequence and I help them understand where the mistake was made so that they don’t repeat it,” said Pugh.

Pugh believes that by making sure all students are well-rounded both inside and outside academics, he is correctly doing his job as an educator.

“My job is to assist and prepare students to be better citizens. We have great teachers here. They’re going to take care of the educational component. I just feel in education, we have two things we need to do: educate students on content and educate them so that they are productive citizens when they leave. And a lot of times, that goes beyond academics. That goes to relationships, decision making, and all other things that they’ll be doing for the rest of their life,” Pugh explained.

Sharlonda Kennedy, Academic Associate

Academic Associate, Sharlonda Kennedy, spent some time working at a Grand Prairie middle school. Her most recent job before Lake Ridge was at an all-boys school.

“I spent seven years in Grand Prairie ISD. I taught sixth grade math for a couple of years, then I was a math instructional coach for two years. I spent the last three years at an all-boys school as the Dean of Instruction, so that means I was over curriculum and instruction for the campus,” said Kennedy. “I truly love working with students in whatever capacity possible, I really do. My second love would be curriculum and instruction; I love academics, data, and numbers, so all of that just comes really naturally to me.”

Kennedy says that her leadership style is being an example that people can follow.

“I like to lead by example. So, I like to show people that I’m willing to get in and do the work alongside them, and be a good example for service leadership. Anything that I do, I like to model leadership and I just want to be an example for those who are looking to me for that leadership,” said Kennedy.

While leading by example can work in any surrounding, Kennedy believes that in a high school environment, it works well due to the large number of academic groups and clubs in the school.

“I think my leadership style will work well in any environment. But in the high school environment, there are all types of groups. Different departments, different student organizations. I think anybody can be a leader in whatever role that they’re in. It’s about empowering people to do that,” said Kennedy. “The best way to do that is to lead and be an example. As long as I’m modeling that, regardless of who’s looking at me, hopefully they can see that they can be a leader in what they’re doing as well.

Being from a school that is filled with only male students, Kennedy immediately noticed the female demographic at Lake Ridge.

Tristan Mayshaw
Mrs. Kennedy warmly interacts with a student in her office.

“I’m from a school where there was all boys, so the first thing I noticed were the female students on campus. You all have a lot of great style and I love how confident you guys are. I love how comfortable you guys are being yourselves in whatever way you choose to represent yourselves. That was probably the very first thing that I noticed when I got to campus,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy says that she knew Lake Ridge would be a good place of work for her due to how familiar she is with the surrounding area and she is grateful for this opportunity.

“I’ve always lived in the area and I have a lot of friends that live in this area. Mansfield is just a great district to be apart of, a district that a lot of people strive to be apart of and work in. This opportunity kind of fell in my lap and was great for me. I’m familiar with the district and the campuses, so I knew any school that I would land at in Mansfield was gonna be a great place to be,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy does not want to seem like an intimidating person, rather, she would like people to think of her as an easy-going Academic Associate that people can feel at-ease to communicate with.

“I hope that they are happy to see another friendly face on campus. I’m trying to be approachable and warm. Hopefully they feel comfortable coming to talk to me and introducing themselves to me. I’m trying to be as visible as I can just to make sure I get to know and learn as many people as there are in the building,” Kennedy said.

The concept of teamwork in the high school setting is beneficial because it brings individual ideas together in order to make effective progress. Kennedy believes that a single person does not bring a team success, but it is the combination of those individuals that work together.

“Truthfully, the way my job can be done at my best would be to work as a team and making sure I collaborate with others. The success of one campus, one teacher, or one student is not going to be by one single person. It’s going to be the community and the group of people that are working to serve all students, so the best thing I can do is be a good teammate,” Kennedy explains.

In addition to the new students schools receive annually, these two new associates that joined Lake Ridge both strive to bring the school together by emphasizing the importance of collaboration and academics.

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