Gaillard wants students to be the change

Gaillard wants students to be the change



Sean Gaillard, the new principal at Lexington Middle School, is looking forward to giving peace a chance and speaking words of wisdom this school year.

Gaillard, 47, an avid Beatles fan, says his philosophy and approach toward education has been influenced by the values instilled in him through his parents growing up in the early ’70s.

“I truly believe with every molecule in my body that we as educators, we are here to change the world,” Gaillard said. “We are here to have a positive impact in this world. Somewhere in this building is the next John Lennon or Rosa Parks. Or maybe they are the parent of the next Martin Luther King.”

Gaillard began his tenure at the school last May. Former principal Sharolyn Harry-Clark has been reassigned as the principal at South Lexington Primary School.

Previously he was the principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Winston-Salem and Wiley Magnet Middle School in Winston-Salem as well as assistant principal at Kernersville Middle School.

Gaillard earned a bachelor’s degree in English from The Catholic University of America in Washington. D.C., a master’s degree in teaching from Trinity College, and a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina A&T University.

Gaillard and wife Deborah, a fourth-grade teacher in Winston-Salem, have three daughters, Maddie, 18, and 13-year-old twin girls, Emily and Rachel.

He said that he became interested in teaching after volunteering as a teacher’s assistant in an inner-city school in Washington, D.C. He said he fell in love with teaching and after a few years of being in the classroom, he transferred his passion to leadership roles.

“I have always loved school and the education process,” Gaillard said. “I love learning, I love being around teachers and I love being in the classroom. … A big part of me misses that piece, but I see the entire school as a giant classroom. I try to avoid the office as much as possible so I can be out in the classrooms, with the students and teachers.”

Gaillard said that this year, the middle school’s theme is to “Be the Change,” which is a play on a quote by Gandhi that says “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

He said that as principal, he hopes to reinforce positive culture in the school as well as encouraging further training and education of teachers and to support the collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking of the staff and students at the school.

Gaillard said that he has been very appreciative of the support and kindness he has received from all the staff and administration, who he said have been very welcoming. He said that regardless of whatever programs and events occur in the future, his main concern is for the students.

“Meetings and budget and those things are part of the job, but I have to also remember my core, which is doing what is the best for the kids,” Gaillard said. “I always have to frame anything I decide that I am doing it in service of the kids in this school. I see those challenges as opportunity.”