Craddock retires

As Glenn High School Principal Brad Craddock prepares to retire at the end of the month, his goodbye is a little bittersweet.
Having played baseball at East Forsyth High School in the 1980s and at the collegiate level while attending Guilford College, Craddock said his intention for entering the education field was to coach.
He said before he wanted to become a coach, his dream was to play baseball professionally, but when that didn’t happen as he had hoped, he turned to teaching.
“I wanted to be a baseball coach and the best way to get into coaching was to go into teaching,” he said.
But Craddock said it wasn’t just about wanting to be a coach; he also had a love for working with children. He shared that when he was younger, he worked at a YMCA day camp and enjoyed working with young people.
“It was baseball and a love for working with young people that led me to (the education) path,” he stated.
After graduating from Guilford College in 1990, Craddock found his first teaching position at Atkins Middle School, which is now the home of Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy. It was there that Craddock was inspired to pursue education further and go into administration.
Craddock said it was his principal at Atkins Middle School, Don Golding, that steered him in that direction.
“I really enjoyed working with young people and he told me that administration was a way to continue education. When coaching didn’t really happen, it just seemed like the right time in my life,” he said.
Craddock later received his master’s degree in administration from Gardner-Webb University, taking night classes, along with teaching full time. He also earned an educational specialist degree in 2013 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, while serving as principal at GHS.
After teaching health and physical education at Atkins and then Hanes middle schools, Craddock became an assistant principal at Carver High School from 1999 – 2005. He then moved to take the position as principal from 2005 – 2009 at the School of Computer Technology at Atkins Academic & Technology High School.
Over the years, Craddock said he enjoyed helping young people grow and develop.
“I enjoyed helping them see beyond what they could see, and helping to influence the next generation of leaders,” he said.
Cradock said he has not only enjoyed working with the kids at Glenn, but also being able to work in the community in which he lives.
“I think it’s really neat when you see kids not only at school, but in the community,” he said.
Craddock has also enjoyed seeing the kids of parents he taught years before.
Although there have been numerous highlights and memorable moments, some of Craddock’s top memories include his first graduating class and first four-year cohort of students go through both Atkins Academic & Technology and Glenn high schools. Others include becoming principal at GHS and presenting diplomas to both his son, Aaron, and daughter, Ashlyn, as they graduated from GHS.
“There are just so many times that (I’ve) helped a young person see something or helped them grow and all of the opportunities I’ve had to spend time and work with young people,” he said.
Over the years, Craddock said he has had so many people influence him through his career. Along with Golding, he mentioned Don Martin, former Winston-Salem/Forsyth County superintendent, Trish Gainey, who served as principal at East Forsyth High School and executive principal for leadership development of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, his high school colleagues and countless others.
“There have been countless people that I have learned from over the years,” he said.
Craddock said there have been a lot of milestones over the years, but some of his proudest moments have included being named 2016 Principal of the Year, and one year when the school was low performing, the next year exceeding that growth.
While he said he takes some credit in that growth, he said the credit actually goes to the teaching staff and the family atmosphere of the school.
“That’s one thing I’m most proud of. Regardless of the challenge I put in front of this group at Glenn, they’ve always worked hard at whatever the goal would be, even with a very diverse student body,” he said, noting that diversity has shifted over the years. “Despite the challenges, this group of teachers have made it happen.”
Craddock felt that this year was the time to retire, but he noted that it wasn’t an easy decision.
“I’m not as young as I used to be and this job is very taxing and stressful. I’ve put in lots and lots of hours and I decided that at some point in time, I needed to make a decision for me,” he said.
Along with that stress, Craddock said while he has a passion for education and young people, he wanted to get out before he burned out.
“If the passion is not there, you’re not going to be successful and it’s better to walk away,” he said, adding that at that point, a principal is no longer useful to their staff.
Craddock said he also feels that he’s leaving GHS in good standing, having brought the school’s rating to a 3.5, which, in the growth category of where they’ve come from, is a pretty good standing.
After he officially retires, Craddock plans to take a month or so off, but from there, he isn’t sure what the future holds.
“I haven’t had a summer off in 25 years,” he said. “I want to take some time to refocus on me.”
Craddock said while he is looking forward to retirement, he is going to miss the daily interaction with the students and staff.
“Even though it was a job, I never came to a job,” he said. “It’s hard to walk away from the relationships you’ve built with your staff and students.”
He continued.
“I’m grateful to this county and I’m grateful to have served doing something I’ve loved for 30 years. I hope I’ve made a difference.”

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