UA headmaster wants to increase rigor

May. 15, 2013 @ 12:39 PM

After months of searching, the Union Academy Board of Directors chose Ann Walters as the new headmaster. 

She began her tenure last month. 

The search yielded about 50 applicants. A committee interviewed between 13 and 15 candidates and the executive committee interviewed the top five candidates then made their decision. 

Walters, 44, previously served as the director of technology at Union Academy, a post she held since last July. 

She has worked in education, from the collegiate level down, for more than 20 years. She is originally from Monroe and graduated from Wingate University. She also attended the United States Sports Academy in Alabama. She has worked as a coach and a teacher and previously worked in the Union County Public Schools system.

Walters said she was “extremely excited and proud” when she was hired. 

“Right now, (my goal is) to increase our rigor across the board, K through 12,” Walters said. Se wants to increase the amount of “time on task” every day and in every classroom, to give the students and stakeholders the best foundation possible. 

She has been overwhelmed by the compliments and thank-you notes from students and the community since the announcement.

“I’m looking forward to working with our foundation and anyone in the community,” Walters said. “Working with our whole community to develop a well-rounded child day in and day out.” 

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Walters hopes to give back to the community as much as the community gives to the school, she said. 

Alan Abbott, chairman of the board of directors, said a few qualities helped Walters rise to the top of the pool. 

“First of all, her passion and dedication to the school,” Abbott said. “Her excitement about what Union Academy’s been, where Union Academy is going and what Union Academy can be.”

Being an internal candidate also mean there would be less of a “ramp time,” Abbot said, allowing her to hit the ground running. 

Walters’ excitement and leadership abilities also worked in her favor. 

“(Her) excitement about the school and her ability to relate to people, talk to people and communicate in a positive manner,” Abbott said. “The excitement that she has is transmitted to the people around her.”

Abbott described her as the “chief cheerleader,” which, he added, is one of the things a headmaster is supposed to be. 

Though Walters has only had the job for about a month, Abbott said they are pleased with her work. 

“She’s doing a fantastic job,” he said. “She had a lot of things to jump on right away because of the timing to get things ready for next year.” 

Next year, the school will be adding new students, so will require additional support for those students. They are also implementing some software changes required by the state. 

“She just jumped right in and got her arms around that and really had done a fantastic job,” Abbott said. 

Abbott said the has “110 percent” of the board behind her. 

“(She is) compassionate and excited about where the school can go and really has the school board’s vision for where the school is headed in line with what she’s thinking,” Abbott said. “(She is) exactly the right person for this time.”