Other stories filed under Feature
The backstory, daily dynamic and unknown facts of RHS principal
April 24, 2019
Walking around the school, he sees a whirl of blonde hair flashing through the hallways. Her voice carries through the hallway as she tells him to ‘take off his hood.’ He complies and glances back at her, realizing she’s not just a ball of energy, she’s principal Rae Woolpy.
Principal Woolpy has worked at RHS for over eight years, but her story of becoming principal doesn’t start there, or even at RHS.
“I was a teacher and I was a whole lot younger,” she said. “I started out at Hibberd and I taught math there and when Tiernan Center was built I moved over to Richmond High School.”
Once she moved to RHS, she became a math teacher and then continued as a coach. After serving as a coach, she became an athletic director, but she wanted to do more.
“I dealt with lots of athletes and then I thought, I really want to help as many kids as I can and I need to leave the athletic side of the building and come to the academic side of the building,” she said.
Thereafter, she became an assistant principal and finally became the principal.
“I’ve been principal for the last eight years and now I have all of these students that I can serve,” she said.
As principal, Woolpy has to do many things daily to help the school.
“I have meetings I have to go to, curriculum and professional development daily,” she said.
She also does many things outside of meetings to help benefit the students of RHS.
“No day is the same, because different situations might come up,” she said. “I want to try and get into classrooms as much as I can, I try to meet with teachers, try to talk to kids. I try to be visible so that kids understand that I am available to communicate, I’m available to listen, I’m available to help.”
Woolpy also tries to help benefit RHS, outside of the walls.
“Outside of RHS, I love to go to our student’s athletic events or community events that involve our students,” she said.
Woolpy also does many things to support herself outside of school.
“I grew up on a farm, so I live on 7 acres and I love to be outside and do things outside,” she said.
Woolpy may help nourish nature’s flora and fauna, but she also has a dedication to help nourish the students of RHS.
“I have this passion to serve others,” she said. “I particularly have a passion to serve kids, I love kids, I love being around them, and I love the fact that if I can even make just a little difference in their life, that’s what I want to do.”
Having such aspirations requires mentors or influences to motivate Woolpy.
“I love Martin Luther King Jr, I love Nelson Mandela, I love Mother Teresa,” she said. “I love all of those people in history that have gone out and tried to make a difference in the world and that’s what I want to do.”
While being a principal has the upside of helping others, it also has some downsides.
“Right now in this day in age there are not many teachers out there to hire,” she said. “I always want to hire the best teachers for our students and so trying to find good teachers is becoming more and more difficult because not many people are going into the teaching profession.”
Woolpy has her own idea of what being a teacher means to her.
“I believe that teaching is one of the noblest professions out there,” she said. “They change lives every single day and we do not pay them enough, and we do not give our schools enough money to fully take care of all of the kids.”
Other challenges of being a principal are economic.
“Some of the other challenges are financial, the legislature doesn’t appreciate that we should pay teachers more and that we should give schools more money for all kinds of things,” Woolpy said. “That to me is one of the most frustrating things.”
With more money, Woolpy has many aspirations for RHS.
“I hope to hire more teachers, have smaller classes, have more counselors, just have more for our kids,” she said.
Woolpy has a passion for her job, and the best way to describe it is in her own words.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, it just gives you the most wonderful feeling in the world when you help others,” she said.