CARY — As the principal of Davis Drive Middle School, Karen Summers tried to make a difference in kids’ lives for three years and then wished them well as they went on to high school.
Now she will take part in many of her students’ journeys to high school graduation.
Summers, 47, started her new job as principal of Green Hope High School on June 16. James Hedrick, who had been the school’s principal since 2005, left this past school year to lead Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.
Summers had been principal at Davis Drive Middle since 2009. She said it was time for a bigger challenge.
“Professional growth is very important to me,” Summers said. “Transitioning to a high school setting was the next step for me.”
Now, many of her former Davis Drive students will come through Green Hope High.
“I’m very excited to have a part in this stage of their education, and see where students are going to school and (what they are) doing with their lives,” Summers said.
Summers grew up in the Atlanta area. She first discovered her love of education during her junior and senior years of high school, when she volunteered with special-education students.
“I loved it – I just absolutely loved it,” she said.
Summers went on to attend the University of North Florida and received a bachelor’s degree in special education for the emotionally handicapped. She earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Georgia.
Summers has been working as an administrator in Wake County schools for almost 15 years. She worked with the school system’s special education services department from 1997-1999 and then served as an assistant principal at West Lake Middle School in Apex until 2006.
She went on to work in the Office of Growth and Planning and spent part of 2008 as an assistant principal of Mills Park Elementary School in Cary.
Summers said she was excited to be at Green Hope High, which she considers one of the top high schools in the state. She wants to keep it that way.
Green Hope students regularly perform well on state tests and have had plenty of athletic success.
“I really want to take time to understand the culture of this school,” Summers said. “Green Hope is so well-rounded, and I want to learn all aspects of the school.”
Wanbaugh: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @TaylorWanbaugh