Dr. Warwick is principal of her hometown school
Warwick's family legacy runs deep in Town of Maysville
While education ran through her family background, with a grandmother and mother both as longtime educators inside Jackson County, Dr. Katie Warwick admits she never thought she would end up in education. In fact, she fought the idea. She went to college with the plans to major in child psychiatry and had plans to take her career in a different direction.
Fast forward to the first day in September, Dr. Warwick holds the title of Principal at Maysville Elementary School. It is a position Dr. Warwick says is her favorite job she has ever had.
“Being given the opportunity, I think, to lead a school, this is my favorite job ever,” Dr. Warwick said.
So how does someone who didn’t want to get into education end up there anyway and become a principal? It started with a substitute teacher position, where she was challenged, but had the ability to connect with students on a day-to-day basis. She then took a position as the Children’s Coordinator at the Jefferson Public Library. Ultimately, being around children was the push that put Dr. Warwick on her path into education.
“I thought, I just have to do something with kids,” said Dr. Warwick, who holds three degrees from Piedmont College and a PhD from Keiser University. “Momma always says we grew up in the classroom, because that is all we ever knew. Being a single mom, she didn’t have babysitters. So you were there all day with her.
“She would say ‘You cut your teeth on these desks.’ And she is probably right. But being around her, and seeing how much she loved it, too, it helped me.”
Dr. Warwick has taught all over the United States, thanks to her husband being active duty special forces in the United States Army. However, an accident overseas left her husband medically retired from the military and gave the Warwick family an opportunity to move back home to Jackson County. According to Dr. Warwick, all three children were on board with the move home.
“Back in 2016, when that happened, we used to pray with our kids every morning at the front door, and we asked them, ‘What do you want to do? You can either move back to Georgia with grandma or we can stay here,’” Dr. Warwick said. “And they all voted to go back to Georgia. I told them to sleep on it for a night and the next morning at prayer time, they all voted again to move back to Georgia.”
Back to Georgia meant back to Jackson County, a place Dr. Warwick’s family has called home for over a century; her great grandfather owned a store in the Town of Maysville prior to The Great Depression.
Dr. Warwick’s first job inside Jackson County was at Maysville Elementary, where she worked for one year before moving to the District office to work as the District Math Specialist and then Curriculum Coordinator. Now she is back at Maysville, in her first year as principal.
And for Dr. Warwick, she is now in charge of a school where her grandfather, Hoyt Langford, graduated from in 1933.
“It is a really neat feeling,” Dr. Warwick said. “He was a really amazing man. We live on his land. We built our house on his land. And just to know Hoyt was here, that he came through school here.”
The land that was once Hoyt’s and where Dr. Warwick and her family built their home is only a few miles from Maysville Elementary, giving her the perfect opportunity to live and educate in the same place. If you drive by Maysville Elementary at any period of time, there is a good chance you might see Dr. Warwick’s car out front.
“I feel like it helps build a sense of community,” Dr. Warwick said. “I know business owners here in town. I’ve had numerous conversations with the Chief of Police and firefighters here.
“I come by here all the time. I can come by and water the plants on the week of (July) 4th, I can do those types of things because it is a part of me. This is a second home to me. Living here, I see our students, our families out. And I love that.”
Dr. Warwick admits that her new role comes with challenges, like any new job. But she embraces the challenge of being responsible for all her students and staff.
“When I worked for the district, I always said my job was to make sure the principals were supported,” Dr. Warwick said. “Four out of five days a week, I was in the schools, side-by-side with the principals. But it is a different perspective when you are leading that school. When you’re responsible. I am responsible for 450 students and over 70 staff members.
“So that’s exciting, but you also feel the weight of the responsibility. But being a part of a school and a school community again…there is nothing like it.”