The Courier-Record

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New Blackstone Primary principal excited to lead school
‘IT WAS A LONG TIME COMING,’ SAYS NATIVE DAUGHTER
Delphine Simmons-Fowlkes “Students haven’t changed so much as the world around them. They still want structure, love, and acceptance.”

Delphine Simmons-Fowlkes “Students haven’t changed so much as the world around them. They still want structure, love, and acceptance.”

The next principal of Blackstone Primary School says she’s “more than elated to be back home and serving in my hometown!”

Delphine Simmons-Fowlkes was hired recently by the School Board to succeed Dr. Carrie Gravely, who’s taking the helm at Nottoway Middle School. Both women begin their new duties in July.

“It was a long time coming,” said Delphine, “but only led by GOD’s will, grace, and guidance.”

Delphine, 55, is a 1985 graduate of Nottoway High. She’s currently wrapping up her duties as principal at Rivermont Chase City Private Day School. Varied Assignments

Delphine’s journey has taken several twists and turns. She says she’s enjoyed every bit of it — and is “really glad” to be reunited with Nottoway County Public Schools.

Far less time on the road and more miles per gallon with the new Volkswagen Beetle she bought last week.

Delphine began her education career in Nottoway as a substitute teacher in the 1990s when she returned home after working for the state for eight years. She became a full-time para professional while continuing to work on her Education degree, which she received in 2002 from the former St. Paul’s College. She received a Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix and is currently enrolled in a Doctorate program at Grand Canyon University. She’s endorsed in the fields of Emotional Disturbance, Administration, and Supervision.

Delphine served as a Special Ed teacher at Nottoway Intermediate from 2002-06 and also served for two years as that school’s 21st Century Program Coordinator.

She taught in Cumberland from 2006-2008 and also served as a 21st Century Coordinator in that county.

Delphine returned to Nottoway in 2008 and served at Nottoway High from 2008-2015, teaching grades 9-12, and serving as the school’s department chair for Special Ed.

In 2015, she transferred to the Alternative School at the Amelia Nottoway Technical Center (ANTC) and served as the Principal Liaison, until she left in 2018 to acquire her first administrative role as Director of Education/Principal at Three Rivers Treatment Center (2018-2021) in Kenbridge. She has four years’ experience as a principal as she prepares for her new assignment. God’s Plan

An active member of Spring Hill Baptist Church, Delphine recalls a recent conversation with a fellow church member. “He told me I’ve changed more jobs in two years than he has his whole career. I told him it’s called asking for God’s will to be done in each decision and move and my life. All of these moves provided experience and knowledge which brought me home. This move was all in His plan.”

Delphine says the most rewarding aspect of serving in education today is “knowing your students, their families and surroundings, understanding their needs, and giving them the best you have to allow for them to be successful.”

The most challenging aspect? “When politics comes before students. All decisions made should be made for the interest of all students and understanding that one size doesn’t fit all.” Fast Learners

Children today aren’t that much different than they were when Delphine was a student herself. “Students haven’t changed so much as the world around them. They still want structure, love, and acceptance. Fortunately, the advancement in technology — and various strategies for teaching our students with different learning styles — has improved greatly…With technology and everything being fast-paced, students learn better with hands-on, smartboards, and oculus glasses, and other devices, which can provide things in real-time.” Teaching With Compassion

When Nottoway students return to class on August 22nd, Delphine says she’ll be eager “to work with them collectively and on an individual basis, respecting their needs and different cultural values. My goal is to work with the students, their teachers, and all stakeholders involved to adhere to their academic needs.

“Students should be empowered with knowledge, but also embraced with compassion, patience, and unconditional time and support. I want them to know we are all a part of a team looking for a winning season. I want them to always feel welcome and a pleasing personality from everyone they encounter at BPS. Communication and collaboration is the key success to any relationship.”

Delphine and her husband, Jimmy, have three children: James IV (“LA”), age 19; John, 16; and Makiya, 26.

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