Principal wants to bridge academic gaps

By Sarah Obeid

CHARLOTTE – Danielle Belton, an educational leader focused on improving academic success, is the new principal at Paw Creek Elementary School.
“I am very excited to be a part of the staff,” Belton said. “I want to get to know more about the community and be very hands-on.”
Belton has a long past in education as she has dedicated 10 years working for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“I have spent my entire career in Title 1 schools working to promote high levels of academic achievement,” Belton said.
She fi rst served as teacher and facilitator at Garinger High from 2004 to 2010.
Belton was then assistant principal at Garinger High and Tuckaseegee Elementary between 2011 and 2013. This past year, Belton worked as curriculum coordinator to support 21 CMS schools at the West Learning Community.
Belton applied to Paw Creek because she found it to be a neat place where she best fit. She felt she could bridge academic gaps.
“I believe it’s important to teach all students as if they were gifted,” she said. “When you do that, they have success.”
To achieve student growth and high levels of academic performance, Belton plans to increase the expectations of students, hold seminars and incorporate project-based learning into classrooms.
Belton also wants to build student efficacy and motivation, as well as encourage her students that they can succeed at being Paw Creek SMART (studious, motivated, ambitious, respectful and talented).
Tracy Lynn, a third-year Paw Creek teacher’s assistant who has been involved with the school for more than 13 years, said she is expecting reading and math scores to increase this year.
“I have a strong focus in improving our literacy to set (students) up to be college and career ready,” Belton said.
Lynn also said Belton has taken drastic measures to be more effective in communicating with the school’s Hispanic families, as well as providing children of those families the learning tools they need to accomplish their academic goals.
“She is bringing lots of fresh ideas and experience to our school,” Lynn said.
The new principal believes families and school should stay connected. She plans to work hard at bringing more families together to participate and be involved in school functions and activities.
Belton still considers herself a teacher, but being principal gives her an opportunity to take teacher practices at skill.
“(Principal) is absolutely my dream job.
I have a 1-year-old son. I plan for him to matriculate through Paw Creek and I plan to do this until I retire,” Belton said. “I am very invested in Paw Creek and the community.”
After moving to Charlotte, the Ohio native earned her bachelor’s degree at Johnson C. Smith and her master’s degree at UNC Charlotte.
Belton enjoys spending time with her son and traveling when she can. She is a Girl Scout leader with her church and involved in her sorority.

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