Berrier new principal at Carrollton

Published 9:03 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Carla Berrier is happy to be a Cardinal at Carrollton Elementary School in Isle of Wight County. She thinks the school is great, as is the parents’ involvement.

Carla Berrier is happy to be a Cardinal at Carrollton Elementary School in Isle of Wight County. She thinks the school is great, as is the parents’ involvement.

From banking to teaching, Carla Berrier has moved her way into another field — administration. The new principal at Carrollton Elementary School values the importance of hard work and building relationships with her students.

“It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work,” Berrier said on teaching.

Before her career in education, Berrier had a bachelor’s degree in management marketing from Christopher Newport University and worked in banking for nine years. As a bank employee, she saw people fill out their banking forms and list their occupations. Seeing many people list their career as “teacher” made her realize her longing to teach.

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After going back to school at CNU, Berrier received her master’s degree in education.

As a teacher, she taught third, fourth, and fifth grade in Hampton for eight years.

She eventually had a conversation with a principal, who she also considered her mentor, and was asked if she had ever thought about administration. She decided that she wanted a job where she could impact the lives of even more children, so she went back to school again and earned an education specialist degree in school administration and supervision from Virginia Tech.

Similar to the relationships she has with some of the teachers she had as a child, Berrier still keeps in contact with some of her students.

“You get attached to your kids, they’re your kids,” Berrier said.

Although she wishes more of her students kept up with her, or contacted her later on in their lives, a friend said something that really resonated with her. “That’s because they didn’t need you,” Berrier recalled. “The kids that need you, those are the ones a lot of times you’ll hear (from),” she said.

She remembers one student in particular who was somewhat of a difficult student. He had attended many schools and fallen behind in his reading, Berrier said. She asked him to make a goal for the level he wanted to be reading at by the end of the year.

He and the teacher worked together and when he reached his first short-term goal, they bought him some food from McDonald’s as his reward.

Tuesday was Berrier’s first day as a principal in a school full of children. The principal is excited to be a part of yet another school where the parents are significantly involved. She noted that the parents are so involved, that they took the time to paint the walls red, blue and yellow in order to brighten up the plain white it had been.

“I think it’s a fabulous school,” she said. She mentioned the 18-percent jump in last year’s math SOL scores.

But there is always room for improvement, Berrier said. She intends to get a feel for how the school usually runs. However, she hopes to include more group work time with resource teachers. In this activity, students will get more individualized attention on whichever area the faculty has chosen to focus.