Voices Changing Communities: Dr. Adreian Pitts: Right Where She’s Supposed to Be

 

Have you ever wondered if you are where you are supposed to be? Am I living in the right town, working the job I always dreamed of, living the life I was meant to live? Dr. Adreian Pitts used to ask herself those questions, but not anymore! She is right where she should be, serving Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools as the Vice Principal of Instruction for Meadowlark Middle School as of August 2021. Her journey from her hometown of Shelby, North Carolina, to Winston-Salem resulted from a visit during high school to Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). As a high school student, she considered a career in social work, until a field trip observation in a juvenile courtroom let her know that was not where she was supposed to be. Her older sister attended college at Furman University, but that was not where she felt she belonged either, even though her sister thrived there. Mrs. Tate, her guidance counselor, urged her to explore teaching as a career, which reminded Adreian of the wonderful teachers and librarians who influenced her as a young student. A vivacious librarian, Mrs. Maddox, modeled good manners and instructed the “whole child.” A graceful Mrs. Byrd introduced her to famous black inventors, such as Famous Amos the cookie maker, and fostered a love of English and writing. High school teachers arranged for campus visits to HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and there is where she found her college home – Winston-Salem State University.

Adreian thrived at WSSU and earned a degree in English with a minor in psychology. Passing the math Praxis® portion of teacher certification proved to be challenging, but an English advisor helped her prepare for lateral entry into teaching. She was grateful for this divine intervention but had to work for Cingular Wireless after graduation when teaching jobs were scarce. Working at a call center was not where she was supposed to be, but she did talk to interesting customers, one of whom told her to “be a victor, not a victim.”  Prayer and a cheerful outlook kept her spirits high while she searched for her first teaching job (and being a cheerleader in high school helped, too). She finally got that chance at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy as an English teacher, then Reynolds High School where the principal, Dr. Art Paschal, recognized her leadership talent and challenged her to go into school administration. From there, Dr. Pitts earned her master’s, ED.S. and Ed.D. degrees from Gardner-Webb University while working full-time and raising a beautiful, blended family with her supportive husband, Michael. She worked in new teacher support at UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State and served as the Vice Principal at Northwest Middle School, where she found that administration in K-12 was where she belonged.

Whether in her role as a teacher, coach or leader, Dr. Pitts finds joy in giving a voice to underserved children and their parents. She understands the obstacles to learning that can challenge under-resourced families. She and her three sisters were raised by a loving single mother, Martha, who worked tirelessly to support her family and help achieve their dreams. She shows grace to parents who work long hours or multiple jobs, preventing them from volunteering in their children’s school. She urges those who can volunteer to do so, whether in the schools, community centers, churches, or YMCAs. Volunteer tutors are crucial to stop the widening gap of test proficiency that grows between black and brown students and their white counterparts. Teachers, parents, and volunteers can help students find their path if they embrace the philosophy that “students will become what they think we think they are.” Dr. Pitts is becoming the educational leader that her family and support system has known she could become. Dr. Pitts is right where she is supposed to be, helping students belong as she empowers them to dream.

 

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