Rickard named CHCCS 2013 Principal of the Year

Oct. 28, 2013 @ 11:13 AM

While she wasn’t always certain education would be her field, that’s where Amy Rickard ultimately found her calling.
“I think I fought it for a while,” she said. “My mom was involved in education but I think I made that choice while I was in undergrad to go into education.”
Little did she know that her choice would lead to her being named the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 2013 Principal of the Year.
She’s spent the past six years as principal at Morris Grove Elementary. Faculty meetings are part of the norm for Rickard but the meeting on Oct. 16 was different.
“I knew (superintendent) Dr. (Tom) Forcella was going to be at the meeting to talk about his long-range plan for the district,” Rickard explained. “But I didn’t expect the assistant superintendents and other support staff. I was surprised in front of my staff. … I am honored to represent the district and my colleagues.”
Forcella said that Rickard is a “great example of what is right about public schools” and that she “advocates for children and families on a daily basis and sets high expectations for the learning outcomes at her school.
“We are privileged to have her in our district,” Forcella added.
Along with the honor of being Principal of the Year, Rickard will be entered into the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year competition along with principals from each district. Portfolio reviews and interviews will narrow the race to eight regional finalists who will compete for the state title.
Rickard said that she and the other principals work well together, collaborating on projects and pushing each other to their fullest potential.
“I love being in a school,” she said. “I like that. I think that you get a lot of energy being around the kids and the teachers. I’m a real big believer in that there’s no harder job than being a teacher. I enjoy being here to support and encourage teachers.
Rickard has been in education since 1994, coming to CHCCS in 1999 as an administrative intern. Prior to leading Morris Grove, Rickard was a teacher at Glenwood Elementary. With an educational background in English education and psychology, Rickard said that it was a great learning experience.
“The relationship and the human component have always been of interest to me. It’s not just about test scores,” she said. “In elementary school you have them for six years so you get to build relationships with them and their families. You get to see them develop as children and a love of learning and education.”
The biggest challenge that Rickard said she faces as a principal is finding the balance between logistics and instruction.
“It’s hard sometimes to be the instructional leader that you want to be,” she said. “The longer you’re at it, the better you get at it but it’s a very demanding position.”
Along with working to keep her teachers encouraged and supported, Rickard also spends some of her time working to meet the needs of parents.
“Parents have different approaches. It’s a wonderful community where people are invested in the children,” Rickard continued. “We obtain input from parents and partner with them in the education process and school community. We work to build that trust with our parents.”