CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As hundreds of Charlotte Mecklenburg students walk to receive their diplomas, one principal will take her 38th and final walk across the graduation stage this week.
Walking through the halls of South Mecklenburg High School with Principal Dr. Maureen Furr, every room and part of that campus has a memory.
“It’s been a great 13 years here,” says Furr.
A 45-year career as a full-time educator and nearly 30 of them for Furr were spent in the halls of Charlotte Mecklenburg schools.
“I got hired to open South Charlotte Middle, which was a great opportunity," explained Furr. “I had a brand new school, I got to hire a brand new staff in a brand new building. I learned a lot by doing things wrong as well as doing thing right.”
For Furr, her time at CMS started in 1992. Nearly ten years later, talks began of a new middle school south of Ballantyne.
“I said, ‘Hmm, Id like to open that school,” says Furr.
So she did. The next year Furr opened Jay M. Robinson Middle.
“Interestingly enough, it’s a skill set you usually don’t get to use more than once," she says.
But CMS recognized just how skilled Furr was; so much so, they wanted her to be the next principal of South Mecklenburg High in 2006.
“I see my role more as a facilitator, I don’t run the show, I just get things out of the way so that people who run the show can make it happen," Furr says.
Furr says that’s the key to success after all these years; believing in your staff and your students.
“I’ve been in a position where I’ve been able to empower teachers and I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with the amazing things they come up with.”
One of the best things about South Meck she says? The diversity.
“I can touch children in ways that can influence the direction of their lives in some way," she explained.
She says that’s one of her favorite parts of not only being a principal, but being in education for so many years.
“But if not for us, who would make these changes happen? – that’s really the gratifying part of it all is, is knowing that kids will have a better life when they walk through our doors.”
It’s her legacy that so many others say will truly be missed, and her advice for whoever fills the shoes of South Meck principal next?
“My best advice would be to stand back and see what you have, and then find the opportunities to build on that.”