Highland Elementary Administrator Introduces Herself To The Community

“My name is Nicole Cabral and I am currently the Administrator of Highland Elementary School.”

Ms. Cabral stopped by to introduce herself to listeners in the community.

“I was born in Virginia Beach, and lived in Virginia Beach until I was about eight years old. And then I moved to West Point, King and Queen. I went to a small private school and I graduated from West Point High School with 57 other students – so I’m used to a small school, a small environment.”

“So I started subbing in Virginia Beach as a temporary teacher, and then I earned a title contract where I taught second grade and third grade. And I saw there was a position called a CRS, which was computer resource specialist. And I watched our CRS in the building and I went,

‘I want that job’. So I worked as a teacher for four years, and then I was able to get a CRS position where I worked for nine years, and that position changed into what up here is known as an ITRT. So I finished 22 years in Virginia Beach before moving up here for the school year.”

My friend, and I’m going to throw name out there, Kristie, works with Head Start in Shenandoah Valley. And she was letting me know what was happening up here in Highland and she said ‘Nicole, there’s a principal position open’. And I had talked about becoming an administrator – I had my endorsement – and she said ‘This would be a perfect fit for you’. And I was texting her and I was like, ‘Oh, she’s crazy. There’s no way I’m gonna get an admin job in the mountains’. This is where we want it to be but I just didn’t see it happening. So I thought about it for about a month, and I caught her back and I said ‘You know what, I am interested in that position’. So I applied back in December and was fortunate enough to get the interview and end up getting the position.”

The interview was not her first experience with Highland County.

“I came to Highland the first time I think, in 2016. My husband is into maple syrup, we were making syrup at the beach. And so he said ‘Hey, I’d really like to go to this maple syrup festival in Highland’. So we got in the car and came up here for the weekend, and we came back several times.”

She talked about what appealed to her about the Highland school system, and her initial goals.

“I liked the concept that it was a small school, that it’s community oriented. Even when I came for the Festival, and I was talking this past year to parents and teachers, it was obvious that the entire community rallies around the school.”

“I was fortunate enough that Dr. Winkler, when he was here, had me start in June. So I was able to meet the staff and some of the students before the end of the school year. And so my main goal when I came in was getting to know everybody. So I sat down, I had one on one meetings with each teacher, each staff member, some of the parents and just kind of got a feel for ,you know, what were their thoughts about the school –  what do they like; what do they want to keep; what are some concerns they had that they wanted to change? And I gained a wealth of information from those meetings.”

“So from that I’m working on getting to know the new superintendent. So we’re looking at you know, how to increase communication with ourselves, with the community, how to get our own partnership going so that we can relay what our goal is and our vision for Highland, to the staff and to the parents.”

“One of the things that I know that we don’t have is we don’t have a parent/teacher association in our building right now. So I’d really like to get members of the community, parents specifically, that would like to work with our teachers, maybe volunteer to start a PTA. With having COVID and everybody being out of the building, and now this year, hopefully, we can release all the restrictions and add people back in, I would really like to see that parental  involvement and see people inside the building.”

“On a student level, one of my personal goals because I wasn’t ITRT in Virginia Beach, is I want a STEM lab. And so we had a big discussion this morning and we’re going to create our own STEM lab inside the building. So we’ll have instruction inside and then the goal is to create an outdoor space too, for STEM opportunities.”

She concluded:

“I would personally like to just say thank you to the community – me being new when I walk in a building, a lot of people already know who I am, but I don’t know everybody’s names yet. And everybody has been wonderful, whether it’s calling Ace to find out how to deal with a problem with the house, or talking to a neighbor about a local vet. Everybody that I’ve asked a question has been so welcoming and so warm, and I really would just like to say thank you to everybody that I’ve crossed paths with in this past month as I’m moving up here.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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