The Green Hope Falcon

Principal Summers Moves to Green Level High School

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Principal Summers Moves to Green Level High School

Green Hope students pose with Ms. Summers in the front office.

Green Hope students pose with Ms. Summers in the front office.

Spencer Cowley

Green Hope students pose with Ms. Summers in the front office.

Spencer Cowley

Spencer Cowley

Green Hope students pose with Ms. Summers in the front office.

Sonia Rao, Erin McIndoe, and Uma Bhat

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On Tuesday, January 8th, Green Hope students were shocked to find out that Friday, January 10th, would be Ms. Summers’ last day as principal of Green Hope High School. Ms. Summers has been with the school for 4 ½ years.

Ms. Summers is leaving Green Hope to be the principal of brand-new Wake County school, Green Level High School. With this new job, she will have the opportunity to create a lasting impact on the school by helping to forge its legacy-shaping the school’s design, teachers, class structure, and overall environment.

“It was an opportunity to open up your own school, it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Ms. Summers elucidated. “To take what we’ve started to build here at Green Hope and bring that to a new school would be a dream come true”

Although Ms. Summers did not start her administrative journey at Green Hope, there is no question that she has left a profound impact on the school. From her support for the student-led walkout to the work she has done increasing the diverse and equitable environment of Green Hope, the school is definitely a better institution due to her presence.

Senior Class President Erin McIndoe said, “[Because of Ms. Summers], everyone at Green Hope is closer. Admin especially makes an effort to get to know students by their name, if the student puts in the effort as well, can get to know them as just more than just a name to a face.”

Many Seniors are upset because they were looking forward to receiving their diploma from Ms. Summers, whom some of them have known since she was the principal of Davis Drive Middle school during their 6th and 7th grades. It is still up for debate whether or not WCPSS will allow Ms. Summers to attend graduation and what her role would be if she were to participate.

Ms. Summers herself was unsure of the process.

“I don’t know how that works. Will they let me hand out diplomas, be at the bottom of the stairs to shake everyone’s hands, what will they allow me to do? I don’t know what it’s been like in other years, but I’m going to ask. I don’t wanna usurp that other person, but I am gonna ask. I’ve been with this group of people since 6th grade,“ she stated.

The Green Hope Falcon was able to conduct an in-depth interview with Ms. Summers about her transition into Green Level.

What do you feel your most profound impact on Green Hope has been?

This is a shallow answer, but the physical environment of the school. When I got here 4.5 years ago, you walked in this building, it looked like a jail. All the walls were cream or white…awful. I had to bring in some school colors, had to paint. When I look around aesthetically at this school, the school spirit is everywhere. The front office, conference room, completely decorated. Empowering teachers to empower students to put murals on the walls. It’s awesome. If I had my way, every wall would be painted something. My favorite mural is strength lies in our differences. That for me says it all. That mural was the beginning of the idea for students to go forth and express themselves. You should be able to walk into a school and it should feel warm and inviting. In addition, the senior locker bay was a grant, we designed it but didn’t pay for it, and that was fun to do.

What drew you to go after this experience of being a principal at a brand new high school?

I have about 8 years left before I retire…and I’ve been thinking about that for a while. Do I go into central office, or do I stay in a school? The first big pendulum swing in trying to make a decision was the walkout. That was the first time in my career that I truly saw students being empowered to create and design something that they had such a strong belief in, and planned it from beginning to end. The power of the walkout, everything from figuring out logistics, to the big picture of who’s going to speak, contacting politicians, to thinking about safety, to thinking about marketing, all of the components that you all went to. It brought up questions like, what is your unified message, how do we bring the Green Hope community together. To watch that unfold last year was without a shadow of a doubt one of the top highlights of my career. That was a shift for me.

The other piece was the round table and the conversations about diversity and inclusiveness. Trying to understand second-generation kids and what that means to you. What does it mean to be stressed at Green Hope, what does that look like to you? When you lose a parent, how can we help support you here? The beginning of the walkout opened up the door for this humanity piece about each other for a world that’s so divisive at this moment.

Having those experiences and having round table taking off this year, I felt that to open up a high school with that foundation, culture, climate, belief, that everybody’s equal, to seek to understand each other, to get to know each other, not what we see on the outside and not all the stereotypes, that’s the end goal.

You don’t need teachers lecturing to you, you don’t. Classroom structure needs to look different. There needs to be more paideia seminars. This is the essential outcome of your topic, go forth. What can we do differently? Education needs to look different. To hire staff that has that same belief system, to meet with students that will come to Green Level and to open up and have these conversations that this is a safe space for people to be, that’s an incredible opportunity. I feel like I still have work left to do.

Do you have a parting message for the students at Green Hope?

I want to communicate that each of you has a place in this world, each of you is destined for something, your paths are going to look different–straight, crooked, jagged. Some of you might get there sooner than others, everyone will find their way. I want students to know who they are, to see their strengths, find their passions, and go forth.  Everyone has a different journey and we need to appreciate and respect the value of each person’s journey. In five more years, there’s gonna be more and more Generation Z kids that say “I don’t need to go to college, I don’t have to go to a brick and mortar school to be successful.” I just want you all to know that you are valuable. Use your experiences to define who you are and to move forth.

Ms. Summers will be followed by an interim principal, Diann P. Kearney, the former principal of Apex High School. Although Ms. Kearney is an experienced principal that is sure to continue the path that Ms. Summers started, Ms. Summers will be sorely missed. Thank you, Ms. Summers, and good luck on your new journey!

About the Contributors
Sonia Rao, Editor-in-Chief

Sonia Rao is a senior at Green Hope High School and the editor-in-chief for The Falcon. In her free time she loves to read and play ultimate frisbee—...

Erin McIndoe, Managing Editor

This year in the Falcon News Feed Erin McIndoe, the senior class president here at Green Hope High School, is looking forward to getting involved in the...

Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

A passionate journalist, Uma Bhat, Class of 2021, feels right at home at The GH Falcon. She plans on using her experience from writing for a magazine,...

Spencer Cowley, Photo/Video Director

An avid videographer and digital content enthusiast, senior Spencer Cowley has created material covering a variety of topics for Falcon News Feed (The...

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Principal Summers Moves to Green Level High School