By Jeff Phillips
Special to the Enterprise
Cawood Elementary School’s new principal says she feels right “at home” among her students and staff.
Melinda Sergent was selected to lead the school by the site base decision making council on Dec. 10, replacing Mike Cox who had accepted the position of the school district’s transportation director.
Sergent is not new to the Cawood staff. She began her teaching career as an itinerant teacher at Hall Elementary School and Cawood Elementary School in 1993.
Then, in 1994, she was hired as a fifth grade teacher at Cawood. She has been there since that time.
She has continued to teach fifth grade and also has served as assistant principal for several years.
“I would never have wanted to go anywhere else to work, she said. “If Mr. Cox had never left, I would have been fine in the classroom. I never applied for the other principal positions that opened in the county. This is my home, the only place I want to be.”
Superintendent Mike Howard said he was pleased with the council’s selection, adding Sergent “has been at the school for her entire education career.”
Howard said Sergent understands the community.
“She was very receptive to the concerns of teachers and staff and very responsive to the concerns of the parents,” said Howard. “I think she was an excellent choice… She was ready to go. She has innovative ideas to make a very good school even better. With her experience, she has a great feel for the teaching and administrative perspectives.”
While being principal for just over a month, she hasn’t been able to spend much time with her staff and students as the Christmas break and Mother Nature have kept the school closed for much of that time.
“Right now we have to make sure we keep the building going, but we’ve got to get our kids back in the classroom as soon as possible,” she said.
Due to the sub-freezing temperatures, administrators and others are keeping a close eye on heating systems and pipes.
Also, Sergent is busy working with central office staff, committees and others on various academic initiatives, all designed to enhance student learning and to increase assessment results.
“We’ve had great test scores,” she said. “We are consistently in the top three in the district. I am proud of what we have accomplished at Cawood elementary. There doesn’t need to be changes, just a continuation of what goes on here.”
Sergent said, that as a new chapter begins at Cawood, “I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to all parents, guardians, teachers, and staff,” she said. “It is my belief that as we move forward, we will strive to develop, promote, and enhance our performance and continuously set goals for improvement.”
Sergent says, “My desire is to inspire our children to excel in whatever path their lives take them.”
Although she is the new principal, she said she was “tickled to death” to be in the classroom.
“I loved teaching every day,” she said. “Education is the foundation upon which dreams are realized and students become successful. I want my actions to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.”
Sergent is a 1989 graduate of James A. Cawood High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Eastern Kentucky University. She received her master’s degree from Union College in elementary education, with an emphasis on middle school math. She also earned her Rank I in principalship at Union.
She is the daughter of Walt and Betty Sergent of Rosspoint. Her daughter, Kathryn Bailey, is a seventh grader at Cawood.
In addition to her education duties, she volunteers as the bookkeeper for the school’s girls’ basketball team.