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AU News

AU Graduates Promoted to Principal Positions

October 6, 2023
The 2023-2024 school year started with these Anderson University graduates becoming principals at Greenville County schools.

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Anderson University College of Education graduates joined the ranks of new principals at the Greenville County School District at the start of the school year.

Jenni Dunagan, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Anderson University College of Education, became principal of Sue Cleveland Elementary School. She also graduated from Greenville County Schools’ Aspiring Principal Institute and Instructional Leadership Academy.

This is Dunagan’s first year at Sue Cleveland. In addition to teaching in Greenville County Schools, she has also taught in Anderson District 5.

“When I began teaching, I took a job at Midway Elementary, which was where I was placed for student teaching,” said Dunagan. Since then, Dunagan went on to join Greenville County Schools, later serving as an Assistant Administrator at Berea Elementary and also as Assistant Principal at Rudolph Gordon School.

Dunagan was attracted to Anderson University, not only because of its reputation for excellence in the College of Education and a program that fit well with her needs, but also because of the class sizes that encouraged a higher level of student engagement with professors.

“One of the reasons that drew me in was that I could have a dual certification versus having to choose between Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education. My mentor teacher later encouraged me to get my master’s in administration. That’s when Anderson was getting their administration program up and going for their master’s cohort. I think I was in one of the earlier cohorts,” Dunagan said. “It’s a special place. My husband graduated from Anderson as well. We value Anderson and what it stands for.”

Dunagan added, “Some of the joys are just being able to have relationships with students and families. Making connections and achieving goals for and with students is the most exciting part of this journey.”

Adrian Mayes, who was named principal at Hughes Academy, received his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Anderson University. He is also a graduate of Greenville County Schools’ Aspiring Principal Institute and Instructional Leadership Academy. 

“When I started at Hughes I did not foresee this happening so quickly but I’m super thankful that things have worked out and here we are,” Mayes said. “I’m always about challenge and moving forward. With challenge and pushing people it brings some emotion. It brings a level of discomfort sometimes, but seeing our people show up day in and day out and really wanting to do the work, and knowing why we do what we do, remembering it’s for our kids, I think that’s our greatest accomplishment. I don’t live a life for me, I try to make other people’s lives better.”

Mayes originally wanted to study engineering but shifted his focus toward impacting young lives. He credits the Call Me MISTER program at Anderson University for playing an instrumental role in his career. Call Me MISTER recruits African-American men to become elementary school teachers and role models to their students. Since Mayes’ inception into Call Me MiSTER, the program has expanded its acceptance of students interested in the profession. 

“I learned a lot at AU through meeting various people and taking various courses. AU helped me become who I am today through different experiences,” Mayes said, adding that his wife, Megan Middleton Mayes, who works for Anderson School District 1 as an instructional technologist, also has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees through AU. 

“Being in education nearly10 years now has just been a beautiful thing,” Mayes said. “I wake up with purpose every day. I wake up with passion and wanting to improve other people’s lives.” Mayes added that now that he and his wife have a baby son, having a child further strengthens his resolve to be that role model as both a father and a principal. 

Meredith Welch, who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and a Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Anderson University, was named principal at Rudolph Gordon School. She is also a graduate of Greenville County Schools’ Aspiring Principal Institute. 

Welch came to Rudolph Gordon after serving as assistant principal at Oakview Elementary School, also in the Greenville County School District.

Welch, who says she was inspired to come to Anderson University in part by her mother and aunt who attended Anderson, feels there are more joys than challenges when it comes to being principal of a growing elementary school serving the quickly expanding communities of Simpsonville and Fountain Inn. Rudolph Gordon has 1,650 students from kindergarten all the way to eighth-grade.

“It all comes down to the people. I love the families and I love the staff. Relationships are really important to me,” Welch said. “I find a lot of joy in being around others and seeing others experience success.”

When Welch’s former principal encouraged her to pursue a graduate program in administration, she chose Anderson University for a variety of reasons. The hybrid program she took at the time—part on campus and part online—fit her busy schedule as a mother of young children. 

“I can genuinely say I could not have received a better education than what I received at Anderson in both my bachelor’s program and my master’s program. Just top quality instruction, real world experiences but also that faith-based piece for you to feel like this is your journey and calling,” Welch said.

Welch previously served as assistant principal at Oakview Elementary School and was an elementary school administrator and a teacher in Spartanburg District Four. She was recognized as a SCASCD Emerging Leader and served on several district committees. 

Another Anderson University graduate, Stephen Hampton, was named principal at Monaview Elementary School. Hampton earned his Master of Education degree from Anderson University. He has also served in Greenville County as Assistant principal at Lakeview Middle School. Hampton has also been the principal of Legacy Early College Middle School; also JET Middle School in Edgefield, South Carolina. He was also assistant Principal of Sue Cleveland Elementary School and taught at the elementary level at Sirrine Elementary School and St. Anthony of Padua School. 

He has completed the School Leadership Executive Institute program, and the Leaders for Emerging Networks of Schools Program. In Greenville, he assisted with the implementation of the AVID program at Lakeview while serving on numerous committees.

The Anderson University College of Education

The Anderson University College of Education ​​focuses on the intellectual development of the student while being attentive to the ideals of character, servant leadership and cultural engagement. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, onsite or online. Details can be found here.



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