From her first day at Davidson College, Laura Rosenbach knew she wanted to be a teacher.Moving into the management side of education wasn’t her career goal at the time, yet that’s exactly where Rosenbach is making her biggest impact on students.Rosenbach recently was named principal of William A. Hough High School, becoming, at 36, the youngest high school principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system. She replaced Terri Cockerham, who was promoted to CMS’s chief human resources officer and had been Hough High’s principal since its opening in 2010. “When you leave the classroom, it’s a different dynamic with the kids,” said Rosenbach, whose first day as Hough High’s principal was July 1. “I really miss the daily classroom interaction with the kids. That relationship teachers have with kids is very unique, and I miss that. But I also saw the power (principals have) that you can influence more kids, to provide them with more support than just in the classroom.”She also uses her experience as a teacher in her role as administrator.“Teachers have the hardest job there is, and being able to support them and also seeing the bigger picture of how to help kids in the broader sense … once I saw that, I really started to enjoy it.”Growing up in Gettysburg, Pa. – the site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles and of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – gave Rosenbach a sense of history, even if she admitted that “sometimes when you’re surrounded by it, you ignore it more.”“Living in that town, history was a strength,” Rosenbach said. “But I actually liked the civics and political science aspect more than the history. … I’m more interested in the why it happened and the people that were involved, and the decisions that led up to it.”Rosenbach earned her degree in political science and her teaching certification in social studies at Davidson. She spent part of her senior year as a student teacher in the social studies department at Vance High School, then was hired to teach civics and economics there right after she graduated in 1999.Rosenbach would have continued teaching, but she began working on her master’s degree in school administration at UNC Charlotte in 2003, completing her work two years later. She was encouraged to begin looking at the administrative side of education. She did her internship in administration at Vance High while still teaching there, then was promoted to assistant principal in 2005.“It was something that I thought would come in handy much later in life,” Rosenbach said of the master’s degree. “I never intended to use it right then, but I had some great mentors, and they really kinda pushed me and encouraged me to make the leap to administration.”Rosenbach spent two years as an assistant principal at Vance High, then was transferred to Mallard Creek High School as an assistant principal. She even spent two months at the end of the 2008-09 school year as the school’s interim principal. She also earned her doctorate in education from UNC Charlotte during that time.That led to her first assignment as a school principal, at Bradley Middle School. She spent three years there before receiving her first high school assignment as Hough High’s principal.“Dr. Rosenbach has shown with great success how she leads,” Dawn Robinson, superintendent of CMS’s North Learning Community, wrote in an email. “She knows her students, is actively involved in academic and extracurricular activities, makes student-centric decisions, and creates the atmosphere for strong academic success. Dr. Rosenbach engages the school community to ensure its a source of pride. She collaborates with teachers to plan and address the needs of the school. We are very excited about Dr. Rosenbach’s leadership and this opportunity to continue the great successes at Hough.”Rosenbach has been handed the keys to one of CMS’s fastest-rising schools.Open just three years, Hough High already boasts graduation rates of more than 95 percent. Its athletics program has won team and individual state championships in boys’ and girls’ swimming and girls’ soccer, and has been a regional and state contender in five other sports.“I’m very nervous. It’s a huge challenge because of the reputation of the school,” Rosenbach said. “This is a school that has established high expectations for its kids, its staff and its leaders. You want those high expectations. … But I’m going to be doing a lot of asking questions, listening and learning.“This is a great honor for me. It’s one of those opportunities you just can’t pass up.”
Saturday, Jul. 20, 2013
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s youngest high school principal takes reins at Hough
Kiser: 704-895-3662. Twitter: @BKiser_CLTObs
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