After 36 years with Gaston County Schools, South Point High School Principal Sheri Little is taking a permanent vacation. The longtime educator retired July 1.
“I'm just going to de-stress, relax and do whatever I want to on any given day,” she said. “I enjoy going to the beach and reading for pleasure. I haven't been able to do a lot of that with all the activities going on at school.”
Little, 58, started her career with Gaston County Schools in 1972 as a Spanish teacher at Ashbrook High School. She later became an assistant principal at Ashbrook, a dropout prevention counselor with the central office and principal at New Hope Elementary and Friday Junior High. Little joined South Point High School as principal 12 years ago.
“I just felt it was time,” she said of her decision to retire. “My husband retired five years ago, and he said I'd know when the time was right. It was time to let it go.”
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A native of Brevard, Little earned a bachelor's degree from East Tennessee State University and a master's of human development and an educational specialist degree from UNC Charlotte.
She spent her entire career with Gaston County Schools.
“I never wanted to go anywhere else,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoyed working here.”
Little established herself first as a teacher, then as one of the school system's few female administrators.
“There weren't as many women working in administration as there are now,” she said. “Even when I became principal at South Point 12 years ago, I was the only female high school principal for a few years.”
Little hopes she'll be remembered as a hard worker who made improvements to local schools and treated students fairly.
What she'll miss most about being an educator, she says, is watching youngsters grow and mature.
“They come in as frightened ninth-graders, and they leave as confident young adults ready to tackle anything,” she said. “Graduation has always been one of my very favorite days.”
South Point was an especially great place to work, said Little, thanks to a strong group of teachers, parents and community members.
“Even though this whole area is growing, we still have a small-town feel in Belmont,” she said. “It's the kind of town where everybody shows up at the football stadium on Friday night, and there's nothing more exciting. The town is so supportive of everything we do, whether it's athletics, theater productions, band and chorus concerts, yearbook or Miss South Point. I just could not ask for a better place to be.”