ARGILLITE Making the transition from a high school administrator to principal at Argillite Elementary School will require some personal education, said Craig Wilburn, who will fill that position this fall.
“There will be a learning curve, but I’m excited about it,” Wilburn said Friday at the rural elementary in the Greenup County district.
Making it work will require one guiding principle: “I ask myself, what would I do if it were my kid — then how can it be wrong. That’s how I will approach it,” he said.
He also will have the help of a staff he calls helpful and supportive.
“I can’t say enough good things about these people. The staff is beyond helpful. They’re professional and preparing for the kids. They have been here spending hours and days they don’t have to,” he said.
Wilburn, 47, comes to the job from his previous position as assistant principal at Greenup County High School.
“I really enjoyed working with kids at the high school. To be successful there, you have to talk to them like they’re adults. They really want to know what’s going on,” he said.
His first days he wants to meet and get to know his teachers and support staff. He is surveying teachers to get a sense of what they think is working at Argillite and what changes they recommend, he said.
Responses he has received indicate teachers want more communication from district administrators, he said.
Coming to Argillite in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic brings with it priorities unlike previous years. That includes preparing for more non-traditional education if schools are closed again, and mapping out safety procedures, such as traffic patterns in the hall to maximize social distancing and safety, he said.
Wilburn came to education later than most. The Greenup County graduate (class of 1991) studied business in college and worked in a family construction business where he assumed he would spend his career.
He shifted to education at 32, following a chance meeting with former classmate, and then Greenup County High School principal Matt Baker.
Baker mentioned the high school needed a business teacher and suggested Wilburn apply. Wilburn said no, but later reconsidered and, with Baker’s assistance, entered the Master of Arts and Teaching program at Morehead State University.
His first teaching position was at the high school as a business teacher; in his fifth year he was appointed coordinator of student culture, a position equivalent to dean of students.
Moving to administration as assistant principal meant giving up the day-to-day connection with kids in the classroom. “”You don’t get to spend as much time with the kids and don’t see the growth and change.
“But taking the bigger view, you see the growth and change across the entire school.” he said.