Durham Magazine April / May 2022

Page 74


VICTORIA CREAMER Principal, Creekside Elementary School

walked outside of Creekside Elementary School in November 2021 dressed in red to show her support for the #RedForEd movement – designed to advance public education in North Carolina – thinking she would pose for a photo. Instead, her colleagues, family and mentors surprised her with the news that she was named the 2021-2022 Durham Public Schools’ principal of the year, the culmination of a rigorous application process. “It was the highlight of my career, especially during a really hard year,” Victoria says. Victoria, who spent the first eight years of her teaching tenure as a middle school math teacher, was drawn to leadership opportunities from a young age, like serving as president of her senior class in high school. Now, “While I very she’s fostering similar opportunities for her staff, such much love as collaborating with UNC-Chapel Hill to provide being an professional development training. “While I very educator, much love being an educator, I think my strength I think my strength and and my passion is with the bigger picture of public my passion education,” Victoria says. is with the The two-time alumna of UNC pursued her doctor bigger picture of public of education degree at the University of Pennsylvania education. ” while working as a principal at Ephesus Elementary School in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. The promise and enthusiasm of elementary school students led her to pursue the role as Creekside’s principal, which she began Victoria goes on to say how she relied on her team when remote in 2018. “Our young learners come to us so excited and proud,” learning began at the onset of the pandemic. They provided items Victoria says. “I give so much credit to the teachers.” like school supplies, textbooks and storybooks from nonprofit Book She also recognizes her peers and mentors for allowing her Harvest to students who needed them. They also ensured students to define her own style of leadership. She’s surrounded herself remained digitally connected to their class and had resources – like with people who have a shared vision, including her two assistant free and reduced lunch opportunities – available to them. principals, Jennifer Aguilar and Lindsay Boykin. “They’re highly “It’s great to have the students back,” she says of the return to intalented, well-versed, strong leaders,” Victoria says. “It really person schooling. “But there are also a lot of unexpected challenges, is a partnership.” because we’re back, but the pandemic continues.” She cites the ictoria Creamer






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