“I have always wanted to be an educator,” says Kelly McConnachie, thinking back on her childhood - and her dream to become a teacher. But the Rockbridge Elementary School Principal really had no way of knowing back then that the fulfillment of that dream would ultimately yield rewards that she is still reaping.
Throughout her career, McConnachie has always considered her profession as something far more than just a job. In fact, she says it is a privilege to be an educator - because educators shape the lives of children every day.
“Teaching a child to read is one of the greatest experiences of my career,” says McConnachie.
Principal McConnachie is a product of the Gwinnett County Public School system, attending Gwinnett County Schools from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. She says that the desire within her to both learn and then to teach was nurtured by the caring educators who touched her life; people who, themselves, also saw their roles as educators as a privilege. McConnachie recalls that it was two very special educators, in particular, that influenced her life.
“My third grade teacher, Mrs. Kelly at Hopkins Elementary and my high school principal, Mr. Lawson, at Brookwood High, both had a passion for children,” McConnachie remembers fondly. “They created an atmosphere where learning was exciting and collaborative.”
The mentoring spirit instilled in McConnachie by those and other educators during young life inspired her to earn her Bachelors degree at the University of Georgia at Athens and then to go on to earn her Masters degree at Piedmont College. McConnachie then went on to receive her Specialist degree at Georgia State University.
Armed with the tools to do the job, McConnachie began teaching grade school. But she always remembered the passion of those who had taught her. She would weave that same desire into her own teaching techniques, passing it along to her students.
McConnachie taught grade school in both Gwinnett and Paulding Counties for eight years before becoming the Assistant Principal at Norcross Elementary. Her diligence, hard work and passion for teaching then earned her the position of Principal at Rockbridge Elementary School.
“This will be my second year as the principal of Rockbridge Elementary School,” McConnachie explains. “My vision for Rockbridge Elementary is that every child in my school will feel safe and secure at school while reaching their maximum learning potential every day.”
McConnachie sees the start of the new school as a new opportunity to influence students once again, the way her educators influenced her – and hopefully with same positive results.