Elementary teacher Nick South named as next principal of LES

Sometimes the little, gradual changes you make in your life make the significant impact. For Nick South, his decision to look for a summer job after the birth of his first child and while his wife was finishing her teaching degree would be one of those changes. This change would define his teaching career for the next 11 years and would show him what it would take to become an administrator — a role he will begin full-time in the next school year as principal of Lexington Elementary School.

What South found was a summer teaching position at The American School in England, one of five American schools in the European country. The school needed a journalism teacher, and South had a background in journalism.

“I thought seriously about other professions until teaching just came to me. To me, journalism was a way to reach the masses, to show and teach them about the world and its events,” said South, who initially majored in journalism at Indiana University. “Teaching does the same thing but on a so much more broader scale.”

With his journalism education and his six weeks of experience backpacking through Europe, South applied for the position at The American School. He was offered a position at the school’s Summer Camp From Youth. In this role, he worked with international elementary students for seven weeks of enrichment learning. As part of the summer program, his students took field trips to London to study art, history or science.

In the three consecutive years South worked at The American School in England, he was named the director of the summer camp program. During that time, the summer camp program hosted about 200 students from 20 different countries for the seven-week summer enrichment learning experience. The school also once hosted a Saudi Arabian princess, South said.

“The experience in England was very administrative and gave me a good look into what it took to be an administrator. I was only director for a couple of years, but in that time, our enrollment nearly doubled, and we were running a very successful program,” South said.

After leaving the summer camp for a few years, South returned to teach photography. When South returned, the structure and leadership of the summer camp changed — The American School in England outsourced the camp to another local school, and The American School only instructed middle and high school students.

The experience stayed with South, and he applied his experiences — including a trip to the World Council of Curriculum and Instruction conference in Amritsar, India — to his classroom at LES.

“The greatest [moment] of which was my time working in England and bringing back that knowledge to use in my classroom. A chance to show students that haven’t experience the world what all is out there,” South said.

Even with all of his travels and opportunities to work with people around the world, South still appreciates his home and his school.

“There were opportunities. I was invited to attend University of Southern California, accepted into the Peace Corps, and offered a full-time position with the school in England. Something always drew me back here. This is a good place to live and raise a family,” South said. “The district has long been at the forefront of educational advances. It’s been great being part of something that’s seen some national notoriety in what we’ve accomplished.”

While he had some great moments overseas, he said the greatest influence on his career has been current LES principal and new Director of Elementary Education Chuck Rose.

“Without a doubt, the greatest singular influence on my career has been Mr. Rose. I’ve grown immensely as a leader and a teacher because of his guidance,” South said.

At Scott County School District 2, South’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.