Carla Black is the principal at Concord High School and is a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, currently serving a four-year term. She received her undergraduate degree in middle school education from Winston-Salem State University and her masters in administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Recently she was named the Cabarrus County Educator of the Decade by the local chapter of the NAACP and is the winner this year of the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award for Region 6.
What is the most difficult thing about being a high school principal?
The most difficult thing about being a high school principal sadly has nothing to do with my lively, curious, verbally expressive teenagers I see every day. The most difficult challenge to being a high school principal is dealing with the conflict, political obstacles and distractions that come with our profession. These issues hinder us from being the best instructional leaders, advocates and resource brokers for our teachers, students and feeder communities.
While we accept the challenge of leading high schools, we do so knowing that we will have to continuously find a way to meet the needs of every child and help them create their best life opportunities. Every day, I believe principals across our state work very hard to overcome these challenges so that we enable our teachers and students to be successful in reaching our shared goals.
What role do you believe athletics can play in the overall atmosphere of a high school and in the community?
I believe athletics is the best drop-out prevention program in our high schools. There are many names and faces I have had the pleasure of serving that profess to this day that “Coach _________was a father figure to me”, “Coach _______gave me the best advice that day”, “I grew up wanting to be just like Coach__________”.
Our coaches are educators who extend themselves far beyond normal working hours because of their passion for people and the game. They draw our students, parents and supporters into believing in one another, our shared vision for our school/team and our collective strength. This transcends throughout the school and community. It becomes a unifying force among people from all walks of life, one of the few ties left that bind us together across racial, socio-economic and political lines. We can’t even achieve this kind of unity in Washington, DC, but somehow that “coach” does it every Friday night. When a school has a healthy athletic program, the school climate, culture and community are healthy as well.
How would you describe your experience thus far as a member of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association?
I can honestly say that I have learned far more than I ever imagined. I continue to learn from my colleagues (coaches and administrators) across the state as well as the staff of the NCHSAA. I have always believed that we grow as people when we are forced to find common ground in the midst of constant change. Our connections to each other and to our cause are paramount to our success as a governing body.
After joining the NCHSAA board, I realized that it was important to remember the old southern saying, “Not everyone seasons their green beans the same way.” You truly hear from every vantage point, you hear every kind of opinion voiced. While the discussions and decisions are heated and difficult at times, I still walk away from a meeting feeling as if I have gained insight from others. I have also felt as if my thoughts and opinions are valued even if the decision was contrary to my own. I realize that we are all fighting for what we feel is best for student-athletes. I believe I am a better leader because of my involvement and as a bonus, I have made some pretty amazing friends.
In your limited spare time, what are some of the activities you are involved in away from athletics?
I am a mother of three, two of which are in high school and are student-athletes. That keeps me pretty busy after school hours! My weekends consist of reading, volunteering, serving and singing in our church choir, participating in church or community functions and spending time with my family. Pretty simple life, but after spending 50+ hours a week with 1200+ teenagers, I feel I need to keep it this way!