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Extraordinary Leader: Abe Hege

The High Point Schools Partnership had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Abe Hege, principal of Fairview Elementary School. Hege has spent all 14 of his years in education as a member of Guilford County Schools. Before becoming a principal he taught for 6 ½ years in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at Welborn, Swan, Southeast, and Allen Jay Prep. He became the Dean of Allen Jay prep for a year and a half before becoming the assistant principal of Fairview for 10 months. After this, Hege became the principal of Fairview, where he is starting his 4th year. During this time Hege coached girls basketball for 7 years.

Originally from Charlotte, Hege began his educational journey at Central Piedmont Community College before transferring to the University of North Carolina Greensboro where he graduated with a degree in English. Due to this fact, Hege was a lateral entry teacher (someone who didn’t graduate with a degree in education) through the GCS ACT program. Hege went on to earn his Master’s in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University.

Hege shows a great sense of pride whenever he talks about Fairview. He discusses this community as a “growth school” with an “opportunity culture”. Hege says that he is fortunate to have multi-classroom leaders who highlight effective and qualified teacher-coaches who help the leaders of the school. Fairview recently received the Innovative Partnership Grant (IPG), they are planning to use the money to infuse STEAM (Science. Technology. Engineering, Arts. Math) in all aspects of K-5 education. This money will also be used for teacher training and parent involvement. Hege emphasized that this is all under the umbrella of a neighborhood school; Fairview is a public school as opposed to magnet schools that have a STEAM focus.

Fairview has seen great success with teacher retention in the past year with 90% of their teachers returning this year. Hege believes that this shows both teachers’ positive feelings towards the school and towards their students. He also pointed to the incredible skills of his staff that brought them to 3rd place in relation to other restart programs. Hege is expecting significant gains coming this year as all of his teachers are licensed and qualified.

Hege also wanted to highlight the changing culture of Fairview. From a student behavior standpoint, there were 30 behavior referrals in 2019 as opposed to 491 in 2015 and 4 Out of School Suspensions in 2019 as opposed to 95 in 2015. He says this is done through connecting with kids and pointing to his teachers as the leaders in this. Hege also highlighted that the first parent group was started under his administration. He deemed this the “Fairview Association” so parents wouldn’t have to pay a fee to participate, a practice that often excludes many parents from getting involved in schools.

Fairview is a 1-1 technology school that includes all students. Beyond this, the school has been undergoing a major change to ensure its learning spaces are conducive to 21st-century learning. This includes brand new furniture and dry erase tables for all 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students, bought with a grant from the High Point Community Foundation

Thank you Abe for sitting down and talking with us. We look forward to continuing to talk with and highlight different High Point principals and all the good going on at their school.