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Parkside Welcomes New Interim Principal Rebecca Pruitt

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By Holly Wilhelm
Parkside Elementary has undergone a transition in leadership this fall. Our beloved former principal, Caitlin Sims, was given the opportunity to influence education across the state in a new position with the Georgia Department of Education.
“Principal Sims will be forever credited for righting our ship in many ways, as seen in our amazingly improved CCRPI scores,” said PTA Vice President Rebecca Wallace.
The new Interim Principal at Parkside is Rebecca Pruitt. An APS vet, Ms. Pruitt served as principal of Morningside Elementary for nine years, much of that service undoubtedly impacting the school recently being named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education. She is known in the district as having a great impact on reading for young learners, having won the Leadership in Literacy Award from the International Dyslexia Association in 2014. In the same year and the year prior at Morningside, the school earned the highest achievement growth for elementary schools in all of APS.
Prior to the many accolades Ms. Pruitt earned in leadership roles, she was a first grade, second grade, and reading support teacher for more than a decade. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University, a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, a leadership certificate from Georgia State University, and a specialist degree from Piedmont College. She and Mr. Pruitt are the proud parents of Ruby George, who is a 5th grader at Jackson Elementary, and a furry family member named Lady.
“I am so excited to be at Parkside,” said Pruitt, “and I’m so appreciative of all the support the teachers, parents and students have shown me during this transition.”
On the job just over a month, Pruitt has already made some dramatic changes at Parkside. In addition to implementing a new reading program for all grade levels, Ms. Pruitt expanded students’ recess time so that they now have the opportunity for outdoor free play every day. Parents and teachers agree with Ms. Pruitt’s view that this change will interact with APS’s new Social and Emotional Learning program to positively impact students’ skills in negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, and self-control.
“We welcome Pruitt and can’t wait to see the results of her immediate efforts and what it will mean for our community in the long term,” added Wallace.
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