Charmell Pettus: More than an assistant principal


Photo provided by Martha Greco

Pettus engaging with a student during lunch.

Martha Greco, News Editor

  As the seasons change, school bells ring and students fill the classrooms, Charmell Pettus settles into her new role as Assistant Principal at R.J. Reynolds High School. 

    A former teacher, curriculum facilitator, and district coach, Pettus is highly qualified for the role.

    “Ms. Pettus is highly competent,” Principal Calvin Freeman said. “She has been an elementary school and middle school teacher, a curriculum facilitator, a district coach and she is very sound instructionally. She has the ability to make good connections and build relationships, making her the perfect candidate for the AP job.”

    Pettus’s lifelong dream of being an educator began out of the kindness and compassion shown by her inspirational first-grade teacher. 

    “In first grade, I struggled a bit with my blends just from my background and my community,” Pettus said. “She was very intentional about teaching me and not embarrassing me and holding me close, building that relationship with me. After her class, even in first grade, I was like ‘oh I want to do this and be friends with my students and build those relationships and be the cool teacher.”

    Continuing to inspire the next generation, Pettus is active in recruiting future leaders of education. 

    “I really would like a lot of people to become educators,” Pettus said. “My main inspiration is how can I raise up an educator. I often talk to kids about being teachers or being someone in the school because people need people and I think educators are the best people to need and have.”

    The tremendous range in diversity that Reynolds represents was a major draw for Pettus and one of her favorite things about the school.

    “Teaching elementary school generally all the kids are the same,” Pettus said. “They might be different nationalities, they might come from different homes but every seven-year-old is a seven-year-old, they’re all the same. Here every kid has grown into themselves and become different so I love meeting new kids and learning about their backgrounds and seeing how different everybody is.”

    As the instructional assistant principal, Pettus oversees testing for math one, math three, English two, and biology. She is also in charge of the substitute teachers and helping to keep graduation rates high. Aside from scheduling exams and teachers, Pettus is a friend. 

    “I just want kids and teachers to see me as a resource,” Pettus said. “Somebody they can come to and feel confident to talk to or confide in.”

    Whether in the office, a classroom, or out at the picnic tables during lunch Pettus is making Reynolds the place where everyone wants to be by building relationships with students and encouraging everyone to be their best.