Callaway Elementary principal makes a positive impact at school

CALLAWAY, Fla. (WJHG) - Being a school principal takes a special person and many times their hard work goes unrecognized. October is National Principal Month and for this week's Everyday Heroes, we introduce you to Callaway Elementary School's principal. It's her first year at the school and she's already made a lot of positive changes.

Principal Andra Phillips is making a positive impact on teachers, faculty and students. (WJHG)

Twice a week, Principal Andra Phillips starts her morning reading to a student before she heads to class.

"Every student is different and some of them need more of me, so if they need an extra few minutes for me to sit and read a story with them, I am happy to do it," Phillips said.

From the moment Phillips got the job, she's worked hard to improve the atmosphere at Callaway Elementary School, after the area was hit by Hurricane Michael.

"It's the air around her that has made these changes possible. It is all about her, she sets the sunshine in the morning for the students," one teacher said.

Several changes have been made this school year. In one hallway students can use the sensory pathway designed to help students having a difficult time.

A promise room focuses on the "man in the mirror," helping students take ownership for the choices they make. It's not just about the students; Principal Phillips created a calming room for teachers. It's a safe place teachers can go if they are having a bad day.

"We don't just say we support you, but we show you we are supporting you by the different things we put in place. I think it helps build stronger relationships between the staff members, the students, the parents," Phillips said.

This everyday hero has spent nearly two decades in education.

"I just love Ms. Phillips and her spirit and her faith. She just always makes me feel so good about myself and what I am doing. So, even though it is hard sometimes, she just makes it all worth it," another teacher said.

Principal Phillips says school starts at the curb. So every morning students are greeted with positive music as they make their way to class. This is another change with the goal of making Callaway Elementary School a positive environment.

"From the moment a student or parent steps on our campus we want to greet them, whatever it takes to help students get in the mindset that this is a great place, we want students to want to come to school," Phillips said.

It's not uncommon for Principal Phillips to be out of her office engaging with students and teachers.

"This is a hard journey, the work is hard, the hours are long, but that's okay because we know we are laying a foundation that we can continue to build on," Phillips said.

Principal Phillips is paving the path to make Callaway Elementary School the best school it can be.

At the end of every day, Principal Phillips reads a story for the entire school and uploads it online, so every student can hear a bed time story.

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