NEWBERRY — Born and raised in Newberry, Christopher Dukes felt like he was coming home since being named Gallman’s Elementary’s new assistant principal.
Dukes started at Newberry Middle School where he taught sixth grade science for a few years before transitioning to Little Mountain Elementary as an assistant administrator for four years before coming to Gallman.
He is an accomplished pianist, playing in his church where he has served as Director of Music at First Baptist Church of Newberry for the past six years.
“In high school, I worked at the YMCA and my senior year of high school I became the Director of Childcare at the YMCA and knew then that working with children was definitely something that I wanted to do,” said Dukes.
Dukes continued with the YMCA throughout his time at Newberry College and continued working with after school and summer camp at the YMCA.
“I got into the leadership portion through the principals I’ve had. Katrina Singletary was my first principal and she really encouraged growing teachers and using their leadership abilities. When she left, Mrs. Farmer was the same exact way. So I have been blessed with principals that really believe in a shared leadership and allow teachers to be leaders,” said Dukes.
For Dukes, becoming assistant principal brought him back to where he was born and raised. He said coming back home was something he always knew would happen.
“Joining Mrs. Hunter in her first year has been fun because we’re both new. I loved every single minute of being at Little Mountain and the growth that happened at Little Mountain and I’m excited to see the same growth happen at Gallman. This is a great school. The teachers are very passionate about what they do and we’ve seen that every day so far,” said Dukes. “Going into the classrooms has been the highlight of mine and Mrs. Hunter’s days, just going in and seeing students and staff excited about what they do. It’s been fun interacting with parents and welcoming them into the school.”
Gallman’s motto is “Promoting students, building community and instilling pride” and Duke’s, along with Hunter and all the staff at Gallman want to make their school a place where kids want to go to and parents want to send their kids to.
“That motto came from what Mrs. Hunter and I truly see as our goal for the school. Students are why we do what we do and making sure we bring in the community outside the school and most importantly instilling pride in the students and in teachers, making sure they are proud of what they do. I just think that’s a great motto for us to strive for every day,” said Dukes.
“Mrs. Hunter and I hit it off from day one and from the day I was hired we have both really just been working hard and supporting teachers,” he added. “She’s one of the hardest working women I know, we are a great team and adding dedicated on top of it is a recipe for success. I would encourage parents to come talk to us so that we can make this the best place it can be.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.