Celebrating National Principals Month: Christy Shepard, Oxford City

Christy Powell Shepard
Coldwater Elementary School
Oxford City Schools

Dr. Christy Shepard has worked in elementary, middle, and high school settings as a teacher and administrator. She began her career as a second grade teacher in Anniston City and then taught for six years in Talladega County (grades 5 and 7-12). She began her administrative career at Munford Middle School as assistant principal, then served in that role for two years at her alma mater Childersburg High. In 2012, she was assistant principal at Oxford High School for three years before becoming Principal at Oxford City’s Coldwater Elementary in 2015. She holds degrees from the University of Alabama and Jacksonville State, and her Ed.D. from Northcentral University. Her son JoQuez is an 8th grader.

How long have you been a principal?

This is my 4th year serving as principal.

Briefly describe your education journey.

My education journey has afforded me many opportunities and a wealth of knowledge. I am sure there are others who may have traveled a similar path, but it is truly a unique journey. I have served as both a teacher and an administrator at all three levels of K-12 (elementary, middle, and high) and even taught in post-secondary. I have truly been able to see the education system from Pre-K to post-secondary and love sharing my experiences. Five college degrees later, I still acknowledge there is plenty of learning left to do and professional learning will continue to be an integral part of my journey.

What are 2-3 essential skills that all leaders should possess?

  1. You have to be able to lead and follow.
  2. Remember being a leader is about more than managing or making sure someone is simply doing their job. Make sure those you lead know what their talents are and be there to reassure them that you believe in them. Help them to believe in themselves. Grow leaders and tap into their skills.
  3. As a school leader you have to do things that help to create a culture in which people thrive. You have to be their voice when they need a voice, support them, provide feedback, give teachers enough autonomy to be effective teachers, and definitely “inspect what you expect!”

What 2-3 insights you would share with others who want to become principals?

  1. Balance your life. You must make time for yourself and your family as you work on your professional work. Your success depends on the “whole” you!
  2. Make it less about just working for a living and more about following your calling and fulfilling your purpose.
  3. To be successful as a school leader, first and foremost, you have to appreciate and value every person you lead.

Read Christy’s 2017 post at the ABPC Blog:

At Coldwater Elementary,
Everyone Has an “Observe Me” Sign on Their Door.
Even the Principal.