Getting to know our new Assistant Principal for Middle School, Greg Cawood
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Lakeland Christian SchoolOne of the core values of LCS is the belief that we are partnering with parents in the Christian education of their children. We believe that mutual respect, communication and involvement by all partners is essential for success of our mission.LCS is a school. We believe that being a Christian school and being a top-flight academic institution should not be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, we take the mandate of Colossians 3:23 that calls us to strive to be the best. We provide a variety of rigorous, engaging, academic and co-curricular activities that enable students to identify and express the full range of their unique gifts and abilities.
Mr. Greg Cawood was appointed to the position of Assistant Principal for the Middle School effective in July. We are appreciative of the leadership, oversight, and support he provides for the students and teachers in our Middle School program.
I asked Mr. Cawood to respond to a few questions to help you get to know him a little better. Some of his interests and experiences may surprise you!
- What are a few characteristics of our Middle School students that you enjoy?
Their energy. Whether I’m in the classroom, the halls, or the lunchroom middle schoolers are always lively and up for anything. I’ve always found that to be fun when I’m working with students. Once you establish buy-in with middle school students their energy and excitement can transform almost any learning activity or conversation into something far better than you may have originally planned. Also, I love their resiliency. They are still at a point in life when they are figuring out their place in everything. As a result, there are plenty of times when they try something, and it doesn’t work, or they experience hardship as they navigate the social and emotional aspects of life. Middle schoolers are great at bouncing back and learning from their experience. It isn’t always a smooth experience but helping them through those times is one of the things I love most about being an educator.
- What attracted you to a career in teaching and school leadership?
I knew growing up that I wanted to do something that was active and hands-on. I had the opportunity to watch family members work in education and I saw the variety and activity that comes with a normal day of school. As a result, I ended up going into education because I thought it fit my skill set, not for any moral mission or for doing social good. I quickly realized that while I loved teaching history and the bustle of the school day, the most important thing to me was watching students grow and develop as people. The opportunity to be a part of that process, in even a tiny way, is incredibly gratifying. We have teachers here at LCS that live and breathe education as a means towards developing young people into men and women who live to honor God in all aspects of life. I love to make things work, to fine tune and work on the mechanical elements of anything I can get my hands on. What I realized was that school leadership is the best of both worlds for me: I still get to work with students and help them develop into young men and women while also working with teachers and parents to ensure that everything is working the way it should be.
- What are some parental practices that contribute to student success?
I think there is one practice that addresses so many areas of student success, and that is to care for the whole child. I came from working at a charter school in North Philadelphia where there were students whose only positive interactions all day were when a teacher greeted them at the door of the classroom. For whatever reason they didn’t have someone at home caring about them. Obviously, that is very different here at LCS. Regardless, all students need a parent or someone in their life that cares for them as a person and not just as a student. When parents care about their child’s growth in all areas (cognitive, emotional, spiritual, social, physical) students are much more comfortable with themselves and with school. We constantly read stories about the effect of anxiety on students in school today. Often it is because the student perceives that their parents care solely about grades and their effect on getting into college. The more parents can communicate with their children about their growth and value in all areas the easier it will be to tackle the crippling stress that students often describe.
- Tell us a little about your family.
My wife, Shannon, and I have been married for a little over five years now. In June we celebrated the birth of our first child, our daughter Caitlyn. Caitlyn is an incredible addition to our family, which now consists of the three of us and our cat Watson. I’m looking forward to when Caitlyn is old enough to join me at school events. I was born and raised in Philadelphia while my wife is from New Hampshire. Let’s just say the Eagles vs. Patriots Super Bowl was a tense period for our family!
- What is one myth about middle school students that you would like to dispel?
That they aren’t capable of higher-level thinking. I’ve had riveting conversations with middle school students about life, politics, history, their faith, etc. Middle school can be a tough and challenging time considering all the physical, emotional, and often spiritual changes that they experience. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t engage in serious thought and reflection. I think those very changes and experiences are what drive middle schoolers to want to think deeply and creatively. By the time they hit ages 12-15 they are beginning to form a personal identity and they want/need meaningful connections with adults and peers.
- What hobbies and interests do you have that some might find interesting or surprising?
I enjoy building furniture for our home. I am a NASCAR fan and enjoy attending the Daytona 500.