Ramona Lovett went to the schools in Effingham, and after attending the University of Georgia she came home to become a teacher.
Now, she is taking over as principal of Ebenezer Middle School.
“I’ve always taught here in this school system,” Lovett said.
She has been working in the Effingham school system for eight years — two at Effingham County Middle before Ebenezer Middle was built and six years at Ebenezer Middle, where she started as a teacher and later became an assistant principal for three years.
Former principal Beth Helmly hired Lovett to teach language arts at ECMS.
“I’ve been with her since that time,” Lovett said.
She said there were many reasons she became a teacher, but most importantly was the ability teachers have to impact students’ lives.
“I think it was not only a love for the children, but the fact that teachers are the first to impact any career, because any career you have, you always go back to that teacher,” Lovett said. “They are profound on children because sometimes teachers take on the role not only as teacher, but sometimes you’re the parent, sometimes you’re the nurse. You play so many pivotal roles in a child’s life.”
She said she also wanted to follow in the footsteps of her family. Her grandmother, Rebecca Roberts, was a substitute teacher, her mother is Dr. Brenda Lovett and her uncle is Dr. Franklin Goldwire. Her sister Mimi Hayes is a teacher as was her aunt, Dr. Cheryl Goldwire, who also was curriculum coordinator and the coordinator for Central Learning Center.
“My family’s heavily filled with educators,” Lovett said. “We’re heavily ingrained in education.”
Lovett was looking to take on a leadership role when she became assistant principal three years ago.
“I enjoy working with the children a lot, more so with the discipline,” she said. “If you don’t have discipline at a school, learning will not take place. I wanted a direct impact on some of the policies, and I thought by working
alongside the teachers, I would be more of a trailblazer on some of the issues that were going on with in the schools.
“Ebenezer Middle School is a fantastic school — there’s not many changes that need to be made,” she said. “I think that by continuing the tradition of good, structured discipline, that’s my main emphasis, (we can continue) the success that we’ve had at Ebenezer Middle School.”
She said she feels privileged to take over as EMS principal and becoming a principal has been her “utmost goal.”
“I felt that I could really make a difference,” Lovett said. “I thought for myself that I could change some of the things that need to be done.”
Lovett said her family support, church support and support from Helmly were all important factors to her becoming principal.
“She always encouraged me to go above and beyond,” Lovett said of Helmly. “She helped me. She critiqued things that I needed to improve on. She’s always there.”
She said many times there is research that shows children are not meeting their academic potential.
“I thought that with my leadership skills that I could make an impact especially here at Ebenezer Middle since I was here,” Lovett said.
She said the first area she is working on at EMS is teacher motivation.
“We have scheduled our first family and friends day for Ebenezer Middle School staff,” Lovett said. “That was one of the first things I enacted to keep teachers. They’re always talking about teachers leaving the field. My goal is to keep my staff motivated, keep the morale high. This is a chance for us to get together and support each other on a less formal basis, to have a nice casual atmosphere with their family because so many times their family doesn’t get to see what their parents actually do.”
She said she will be working on improving instruction with “differentiated instruction strategies” that are currently being pushed with the Georgia Performance Standards. She also plans to look at programs other schools in other systems are implementing.
“We’re interested in the new research, not that it may fit Ebenezer or Effingham County, but look at some of the different things that are being done in other school systems,” Lovett said.
She said she plans to be at Ebenezer “as long as the job is being done well.”
“I couldn’t do any of this without (my family),” Lovett said. “As far as what the future holds we’re going to keep working here at Ebenezer Middle.”
She said becoming the principal at EMS is one of the “greatest compliments” following Helmly’s legacy.
“Because she saw fit that I was the next principal,” Lovett said. “She always believed in me. I’m going to do my best, and we are going to continue on being the dynamic school that we are. We’re Ebenezer, so I expect nothing less.”