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McGavock Elementary School principal Rae Covey has worked as an elementary school principal for the past 15 years. SUBMITTED

Tell me a little about yourself: where born, family, where you live generally?

I was born in upstate New York. After college, I moved to Nashville where I lived for many years in Hermitage, Green Hills and near Percy Werner Park. I have twin sons who were born at Vanderbilt Hospital. One lives here in Nashville, and his brother lives in L.A.

Tell me about your education. Where did you go to school? Degree(s)?

I have a bachelor in fine art, a master’s in education and an advanced degree in administration all from schools in New York state. I have also attended training in leadership at Harvard.

Have you always wanted to be in education? When did you know you wanted to teach? What about the education profession drew you?

I began my professional career as a location manager for film companies. I was drawn to education when I discovered I enjoyed working with children.

Tell me about your history in education. Generally, what systems etc.? When did you go from teaching to administration? Was it a difficult transition? What is different about the two?

I began my career in education teaching fifth and sixth graders. After seven years in the classroom, I was asked in become an instructional coach. It was during this time I discovered how much I enjoyed working with teachers to support their efforts in the classroom. While also working on my administrative degree, I created a district’s staff development program, as well as a family resource center. From there I moved into administration, where I have worked as an elementary principal for the last 15 years.

What grades? Preschool through fourth? 

McGavock Elementary School is a pre-fourth-grade school.

 How many students are at McGavock Elementary; how many teachers?

[There are] 280 students, pre-K through fourth grade. [There are] 25 teachers, four paraprofessionals, three office, plus the kitchen and custodial staff.

How has this year been for you, the school? Any outstanding accomplishments thus far?

This is my first year at McGavock Elementary School.  McGavock has a dedicated teaching staff, and I am proud of the work they accomplish each day. My role is to support them so they in turn can be their best for the students. 

I am pleased that we now have a student council. Their mission is to help the school and community. They completed a hat, glove, and scarf drive for the Safe Haven Shelter and are planning a food drive in February to help local food banks. We recently visited the state capitol, where they were invited to the House chamber to present and vote on bills.

What is your philosophy for a healthy school environment teaching?

I personally believe that teaching is one of the most rewarding yet challenging jobs there is. A healthy school atmosphere is one where teachers are continually honing their craft while in a supportive environment that enables them to do the ‘heavy lifting’ that is required to support the diverse academic, emotional, and social needs of our students.

For students, I believe that we must teach the whole child and children should not base their worth on a test score. Children learn at different rates and in different ways and with a growth mindset, they will continue to grow. I believe that all children need to participate in the arts to have a well-rounded education. 

 What are your hobbies?

I enjoy attending concerts and teaching meditation.

Where would you like to travel?

I enjoy traveling in Europe.

What's something about you that would surprise us?

I have been a vegetarian for 40 years.

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