Meet the five new principals of the Scotland County School District.
AJ James at Shaw Academy
- Originally from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Has been in education for 15 years. Started teaching math then went into administration.
- There are about 52 students currently enrolled at Shaw.
- “My first impression of this community was like getting a warm hug. It has been overwhelming in a positive way, everyone has been supportive in helping me. My vision is for Shaw Academy to be the best school in North Carolina. I’m working on developing relationships with the students and hope to teach them how to manage school. I’m looking forward to driving towards excellence this year and helping the students find success through the hidden rules of society.”
Bobbie Mills at Wagram Elementary School
- Originally from Laurens, South Carolina.
- Has been in education for 20 years. Started teaching 7th and 8th grade language arts then began working as an assistant principal.
- There are about 475 students currently enrolled at Wagram.
- “This community reminds me of my hometown. It has a strong sense of pride. Everyone has made me feel so welcomed and has greeted me with open arms, warm smiles and lots of hugs. I sincerely appreciate how this community has made me feel at home. My plans for this year are to first and foremost make sure my students are in a safe, orderly and structured environment that is conducive for learning at high levels. I plan to build relationships with the community and parents of Wagram. I want every child at Wagram to show growth academically and be college and career ready. I want Wagram Elementary School to be the best school in Scotland County.”
Brent Smith at Spring Hill Middle School
- Originally from Goldsboro.
- Has been in education for about 15 years. Started teaching visual arts along with coaching basketball and tennis, then began working as an athletic director and assistant principal.
- There are about 610 students currently enrolled at Spring Hill.
- “I love the community here in Laurinburg. I married a Scotland High alum, so Laurinburg has been our second home for many years. Coming from a small community in Goldsboro makes the move a natural fit for my wife and me. Everyone has been so friendly and hospitable, we have had a very warm welcome into the community. My goal is to create a sense of family for the Spring Hill students. I’m working to get students access to technology and integrating it into the classrooms. I hope to incorporate educational technology into teaching this year so that every child is proactive and can bring out the greatness that lies within them.”
Mary Hemphill at I. Ellis Johnson Elementary School
- Originally from Hickory, North Carolina.
- Has been in education for about 11 years.
- There are about 350 students currently enrolled at IEJ.
- “I have never worked in a district where I received so much support and hope for the students to do well. My hopes for this year are to make sure the students have the support they need and the teachers are the best leaders they can be in the classroom. I’m looking forward to a great school year here in Scotland County.”
Patrick Peed at Scotland Early College High School (SEarCH)
- Originally from Hamlet.
- Has been in education for about 19 years. Started teaching 7th grade and coaching soccer and basketball, then switched to athletic director and began his administrative career.
- There are about 200 students currently enrolled at SEarCH.
- “I have always known Laurinburg as a town with a rich history and a strong sense of pride. Our primary goal at SEarCH is to graduate 100 percent of our students prepared for college or a career. Additionally, I hope to foster an environment that encourages strong relationships and high expectations.”