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Bennett named assistant principal of the year

POSTED: November 15, 2017 7:48 a.m.
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Elizabeth Bennett, assistant principal at Richmond Hill Middle School, was named assistant principal of the year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. She is shown here holding a new name plate staff at RHMS gave her in October after successfully defending her doctoral dissertation.

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Add another title to Elizabeth Bennett’s growing resume.

Bennett, an assistant principal at Richmond Hill Middle School, was named statewide middle school assistant principal of the year Monday by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.

“It’s a nice honor and a great way to bring a spotlight to all the great things happening in Bryan County Schools and at Richmond Hill Middle School,” Bennett said.

The Ohio native was interviewed by a panel of principals and assistant principals as part of GASSP’s yearly conference held over the weekend in Savannah and was named the winner on Monday.

“The best trait an assistant principal can have is to realize you have to do any job that comes your way,” she said. “That might mean covering a class for a teacher at the last minute or digging into a curriculum you’re not very familiar with. You have to be supportive at all times.”

Bennett said she goes about her job according to the mantra of the district’s superintendent, Paul Brooksher.

“Dr. Brooksher always says school are made up of two kinds of people: those who teach and those who support teachers,” she said. “Administrators support teachers, who in turn support our students.”

Richmond Hill Middle School Principal William McGrath said Bennett is “an instrumental part” of the school.

“She is a joy to work with,” he said. “She is a hard working professional educator who is very passionate about her job and truly cares about the community, the families that live here, and their children.”

Because of its size — more than 1,650 students — RHMS has four assistant principals.

“We each have our specialty areas,” she said. “Aside from being athletic director, I also oversee English and remediation.”

After playing basketball and earning an English degree at Ashland University in Ohio, Bennett headed south as a graduate assistant coach at Armstrong State University, where she earned a master’s degree in teaching.

She eventually became a teacher and basketball coach at Richmond Hill High School, spending seven years in the classroom before taking on her current role at Richmond Hill Middle School five years ago.

“Leadership has always been a passion of mine, so becoming an assistant principal seemed like a natural progression,” she said. “Now I get to help develop other leaders by noticing those same qualities in our teachers.”

Along the way, Bennett also earned an educational specialist degree from Georgia Southern University and just last month became Dr. Elizabeth Bennett by successfully defending her doctoral dissertation on educational leadership at Valdosta State University.

Bennett said she misses being a classroom teacher and coach “every day,” but enjoys her current role.

“I especially miss it now, with basketball season starting,” she laughed. “But I have a different purpose now and get to build relationships with students in other ways.”

Bennett said she enjoys being the “No. 1” fan of Richmond Hill High School baseball, coached by her husband Stacy, and coaching their two sons in rec basketball.

“I love the leadership team we have at the middle school and I’m thankful for my position,” she said. “I’m willing to see what doors God opens for me and where he leads me.”

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