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‘Compassionate, Student-Centered’ Educators to Share Ocean Shores Elementary Principal Position

Rhonda Ham, who has been the well-loved principal of Ocean Shores Elementary for nine years and has worked in North Beach School District (NBSD) for 35 years in a variety of roles, retires at the end of the current school year -- leaving some big shoes to fill.

Superintendent Andrew Kelly has announced that two North Beach staff will jointly take the leadership role in the coming school year. Darby Carroll and Stephanie Evans have been selected to serve as co-principals at Ocean Shores Elementary in the 2021-2022 school year, Superintendent Kelly announced on  April 29.

Stephanie Evans & Darby Carroll

Since coming to NBSD in July of 2018, one of Superintendent Kelly’s major goals has been to nurture professional growth from within the district, whether from para educator to teacher or, as in this case, from teacher to administrator. “In our rural remote location, it’s imperative that this district nurtures talent from within to keep the system growing, improving, and serving our kids and families in ways that we previously couldn’t imagine,” Kelly explains.

Both elementary schools in NBSD have been aggressively engaged in developing progressive leadership that supports students. Kelly points to outcomes like a total restructuring of the early learning program and opening of Tugboat Granny’s Child Care facility at Ocean Shores Elementary (OSE), and the recent announcement of a partnership with the Bezos Day 1 Preschool program which will launch in the fall of 2021 at Pacific Beach Elementary (PBE) as examples.

Stephanie AdamsStephanie Evans has served as Ocean Shores’ Assistant Principal/Teacher On Special Assignment for the past two school years, during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic forced educators to re-think education. Stephanie is a focused, driven educator who works to align systems and structures to ensure that each child has the supports they need to thrive.

In addition to multiple other duties, Evans was part of a team that worked to ensure the well-being of the district’s students throughout the district. After surveying teachers to establish which students were having difficulty accessing school during distance learning, she made home visits with students and their parents/guardians to develop a plan for success. Evans says that experience continues to guide her daily interactions with students. Looking forward, she remains committed to providing the highest quality education with the tailored support that will allow each student to maximize their potential.

Prior to joining OSE, Evans taught for seven years in Southeast Texas, both at an Early College High School geared toward first generation college-bound students, and a comprehensive high school of nearly 4,000 students. Not long after pursuing her administrative credentials, Evans relocated to Ocean Shores.

Darby Carroll has served as Administrative Intern and Dean of Students at Ocean Shores Elementary for the past year. In that position, she worked with school and district administrators to review diagnostic district assessment data and lead professional development to support student learning.

Darby CarrollThe goal, she said, was to organize, innovate and collaboratively support all students, families and community members while staying true to the vision and mission of Pacific Beach Elementary. Carroll has taught in the district since 2017 at several grade levels including kindergarten, first, second, and fifth grade. “Darby has an intense heart and passion for the success of each child,” Superintendent Kelly says. “She wears her commitment on her sleeve and is consistently working to advocate for equitable outcomes for each scholar.”

“I'm excited that the committee selected two student-centered and compassionate candidates to step into these roles,” Superintendent Kelly says. Evans and Carroll both bring tremendous strengths to the position, Kelly notes, adding that their skills and talents complement each other well. The interview committee, he says, agreed that this co-leadership arrangement is a perfect fit for the two educational leaders and a win-win for the students, staff and parents of the school.

Kelly concluded with his core belief that, “I want teachers and principals in North Beach that I’d be thrilled for my own children to have. Darby and Stephanie are exceptional and the students and families at OSES are in store for an amazing year in 2021-22.”