Dr. Friend Featured in "5 Questions With" Series

Dr. Friend Featured in "5 Questions With" Series
This week, The Sentinel's Joseph Cress gave Dr. Friend a chance to reflect on her experiences and her future role in their "5 Questions With" series.   

Q: What made you decide to pursue the job of chief executive?

A: Being the superintendent in Carlisle is my dream job. When the position became available, there was never a doubt that I would apply. I am so proud of our students, faculty, and administrative team, and feel privileged to serve as their leader. We have incredible work to continue in Carlisle and new ideas to consider and implement. It is an exciting time of possibilities and opportunities. And imagine, the education that I received in CASD started my track to return as superintendent. It is a very powerful feeling of pride.

Q: What lessons learned from prior jobs have prepared you for this new role as chief executive?

A: Communication, communication, communication.

A former principal would ask me over and over again, “Who else needs to know the decision you are making?” Additionally, it is important that we tell our story and share the incredible work that our students, faculty and administration are doing. We need to share our successes.

I had many incredible models in both North Carolina and Carlisle. I was also taught to take my work seriously, but not to take myself too seriously. Being relatable to faculty and staff is important. Relationships are critical in education. As educators, we often underestimate the power we have in the lives of our students. As leaders, we can forget that sometimes too. Connection and engagement with students and faculty/staff matter significantly.

Q: What are your thoughts now that you are officially the superintendent?

A: I’ll be honest, when July 1st rolled around, I took a deep breath. I had an overwhelming moment or two. But it was similar to the night at commencement when I looked at the stadium filled with people and it was my turn to speak. Then I told myself, “just focus on and talk to the graduates.”

Moving forward, I keep reminding myself to stay focused on our students. As educators, we need to attend to how we provide the best experiences and opportunities for them.

Q: What will be the biggest challenges facing the school district/public education in the new school year?

A: Setting the pandemic to the side, staffing and recruiting is likely the biggest challenge. Although this has been a good year in CASD for teacher retention, we still have some specialized positions that need filled. Also, we are still trying to recruit instructional aides and substitutes.

Q: How do you plan to tackle the challenges?

A: Instructional aides — We have increased our daily rates for instructional aides, and are planning to offer four-day training at the start of the school year. Instructional aides that participate in all four days will receive an additional five dollars to their daily rate for the 2022-23 school year.

Substitutes — We will start the year with an incentive similar to last year. If they work 73% of the time over three months, they receive a bonus and an additional $15 per day. The daily rate for our building substitutes that work every day will remain at $140.

Teachers/professional staff — CASD needs to get the word out about how great our district. Recruitment is critical. I’m also interested in how we can work with our high school students who may be considering teaching as a career path. How can we better support them and keep them interested in teaching in CASD. Also, later this year, I would like to roll out an idea for a video from the voices of our current faculty, staff, administration and potentially students about our district and why it is so great.

Link to The Sentinel article in its entirety: