NEWBERRY — Strengthening his ties in the community, Michael Stroud is proud to be the principal at Reuben Elementary, where his children attended years ago.
Stroud has been the principal of Reuben for five years now, and has upheld the Reuben Elementary standard of academic excellence and community involvement.
He is a long time member of the community, having attended Bush River Elementary as a child, and graduated from Newberry High School. Stroud went on to get his bachelor’s degree at Presbyterian College, and received his master’s degree from Clemson University.
Stroud began his career in education by teaching math and social studies at Newberry Middle School for six years, later becoming an administrator for 14 years at Mid-Carolina Middle School. He has coached basketball, football, and baseball at four different schools in the district.
In 2009, Stroud became Reuben Elementary’s principal and had a goal of maintaining strong community relationships, academic success, and upholding the school’s excellent reputation. In the past five years, the school has achieved two Palmetto Silver Awards, a Farm II School grant from Clemson University, and is a part of a recycling program with Newberry County.
In the 2011-12 school year, Reuben Elementary was the only school in the district to make a 100 on the school’s report card. Stroud says that he loves the people that work at Reuben, the families and the kids.
“The staff goes above and beyond. The support from them and the community makes my job easier,” Stroud said.
Many of the parents have had Stroud as a teacher or a coach, so he said it seems easy to build on the relationship that is already established. Stroud said that the passion and pride that the community and teachers share for Reuben Elementary is amazing.
Having been at the middle school level, there were several differences when Stroud said he came to an elementary school. Stroud said that the disciplinary aspect is much different for the younger children because you are trying to be more proactive in teaching them right from wrong, where as in middle school you must be reactive to some of the behaviors already set in place.
“Elementary students are more impressionable. With middle school kids you have to connect with them on a different level,” Stroud said.
Stroud said he is very appreciative of his staff and they are appreciative of him as well.
“He has faith in the teachers, and that really makes a difference when you have someone who believes in you. It allows you to believe in yourself,” said Brooke Matthews, media specialist at Reuben.
“He is a genuine, good, and fair minded person. He genuinely cares for the teachers and students and they all know it. We know we are all in it together,” said Administrative Assistant Betty Willyerd.
In the future, Stroud said he would like to see the enrollment of the school grow to 250-300 students. He plans to stay at Reuben Elementary because he says it’s nice to get up and look forward to coming to work everyday.
“It’s a good old country school, and you don’t find that very often. I really care about the school and love what I do, because that’s all that really matters,” he said.