By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Edison School principal Sharon Norwood has only been on the job in the Gainesville Independent School District (GISD) for one year yet her positive leadership and energized dedication to making a difference in the lives of both Edison students and teachers has earned high praise from all who know her.
A native Texan and Texas Tech University graduate, Norwood brings over 21 years of experience to the GISD with an extensive background as both teacher and administrator.
“I believe that being a teacher is the greatest job in the world,” she said. “You have the privilege of impacting so many lives and nothing is better than hearing a former student say that you were his or her favorite teacher.”
Norwood speaks highly of her own favorite teachers she had while growing up in the Lubbock ISD.
“Mrs. Bunch and Mrs. Smith were my sixth grade teachers and treated us with respect and love,” she said. “They made school fun and I wanted to be a teacher like them. We were people not just a job.”
Education was very important to Norwood and she was humbly proud to be the first in her family to graduate from college.
“Of course we have had several family members graduate since then but it was a big thing for my family and I am so grateful to pave the way for others,” she said.
Norwood taught fifth and sixth grade math for several years and eased into the role of administrator.
“I did love teaching so much but I knew that as a principal my mission would be to be a servant leader stressing positive thinking and inspiring others to do their best.”
When Norwood speaks about her years in education, the subject always circles back to her number one focus which is taking care of the kids and giving them what they need to succeed both in school and in life.
A recent carnival at the end of school attracted over 1,000 participants who arrived to show their support for GISD teachers, students and activities.
Norwood continued, “Our kids are rock stars and even though they didn’t need an incentive to do well, we promised them we would have a carnival celebrating a successful school year. We raised over $4,000 at the event which we will use to purchase leveled readers to increase our classroom and student library and to purchase technology such as iPods and iPads. We will be using any funds raised by our students this year for those two causes.”
Norwood said that with this past year’s focus on big dreams, the kids learned that anything is possible and if you dream it you can achieve it. The theme for this year was “Dream Big.”
“For example in the recent Relay for Life our four, five and six year olds raised over $1,500 in collected change for the cancer fund,” Norwood said. “We build on these successes and the kids learn that even the smallest child can make a difference in a big world.”
Norwood said that the theme for this next school year is “Suit Up for Success” and the positive reinforcement that permeates the halls of Edison will continue.
In speaking of Principal Norwood, GISD Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Brasher said, “ Ms Norwood has brought excitement, energy, and excellence to GISD. Her outgoing personality, high expectations, and drive to work with the parents and community of Gainesville brings a new level of success and potential to GISD.”
In moving to Gainesville, Norwood exemplified commitment and courage to break new ground in a new community where as a new principal she was committed to making a difference in a school district that she believes is destined to be second to none.
“We teach the pre-K, kindergarten and first graders at Edison to read and how to learn,” she said. “With reading skills and the ability to achieve, these kids will have the platform which higher grades can successfully build on.”
Norwood champions her Edison teachers frequently and each month makes recommendations to the board for GISD teacher of the month.
“We have the best teachers and they all have a heart for kids,” she said. “We have the resources and capabilities to give these kids a great education.”
She continued, “We want to make learning fun so that the kids will look forward to school each day.”
Residing in Amarillo, Norwood’s son Tyler works with Wells Fargo Bank and daughter-in-law Janet is a teacher. Grandchildren Darby, 3, and Stratton, 1, bring a special gleam to grandma’s eye. Norwood’s parents still reside in her beloved Lubbock.
“I miss having family close by but I am so glad to be part of a really neat town like Gainesville,” she said. “I look forward to coming to work each day and being part of my Edison family who I wholeheartedly applaud. God brought me here for a reason and I have discovered that He always knows best.”