Principal built school's community ties

Generally speaking, people can be divided into two groups: Teachers, parents and others who think a new year begins when school starts; and people who think a new year begins Jan. 1.

This year, for the first time in a long time, Sam Treadaway is moving from the former group to the latter.

For 12 years, Treadaway was principal at Mount Pleasant Middle School. The position is significant in both the school district and the Mount Pleasant community.

Treadaway calls the middle school a "consummate community school." Many local residents went to high school in that building, and they feel ownership of it.

While he was principal, Treadaway stayed aware of that connection and worked to develop a relationship between school and community such that each helped the other for the good of all.

I asked former mayor Troy Barnhardt about Treadaway and his effect on the community. Barnhardt called him "very good to work with" and "instrumental" in allowing the town to use school facilities for special events. He said the middle school was "a community meeting place" because of Treadaway.

Before he came to Mount Pleasant Middle, Treadaway taught and coached football in Union County, then was assistant principal at Northwest Cabarrus Middle and Central Cabarrus High schools.

He said he wanted to work in middle school because he could have a greater impact there. He believes the better start students have, the more successful they will be.

It takes a special kind of person to work with middle school students, and Treadaway agrees that no two days are ever the same; he never knew what might happen. But he's not real big on routine, he said, and he always enjoyed the variety of middle school life.

Treadaway provided some variety in the school routine by singing and playing his banjo for students. He started "messing around" with the banjo about 15 years ago, he said, because he wanted his sons to be exposed to live music. Over time, teachers would ask him to sing and play for students.

Now that he's retired, Treadaway looks forward to continuing to serve the community and wants to keep working with kids.

He's trying not to jump into too much too soon, but will continue to work with groups that are already important to him: his church; Family Promise, a nonprofit that helps homeless families; and the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum.

And though Treadaway himself is not returning to school this year, his oldest son just began working as a middle school teacher. So maybe Treadaway won't have to wait until January to start a new year after all.