Return to Headlines

Long Mill Elementary School moving forward together

by Curtis Hayes, Director of Communications

If you ask Principal Monica Headen to name just one quality that makes Long Mill Elementary a top school – prior to COVID-19 and now during the pandemic – she would give you the same answer: teacher collaboration.

“Our teachers have common expectations for their students,” Dr. Headen says. “They are all going to try to help the kids be the best they can be, and they take their craft seriously.”

Dr. Headen, who has been principal at LOMES for seven years, and Assistant Principal Dr. Robert Kradel work together to help ensure no child is left behind. Combined, they count more than 50 years of total experience in education. So, experience is another characteristic that makes LOMES a top school.

“Teachers are the core of the school,” Headen says. “Our teachers are experienced educators, and turnover in their ranks has been rare.”

LOMES has around 30 teachers who are responsible for teaching about 450 students. Overall, Franklin County Schools has 586 teachers and around 8,000 students for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Franklin County Schools – as a district – is fortunate to have dedicated teachers who help our students achieve,” says Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, Superintendent of Franklin County Schools. “Long Mill Elementary is a prime example of how our teachers work together to raise the bar on student achievement — no matter the circumstances.” 

Whether instruction occurs in person or remotely, LOMES teachers do everything in their power to help students academically. However, they also take care to analyze data and construct programs that create total learners.

“They really deep dive into their data when we do assessments and check-ins,” Kradel says of LOMES teachers. “They really tear into that data and use it to prepare their kids.”

Rather than simply focusing on the core subjects, which they do, LOMES teachers also emphasize character education, which includes teaching leadership skills, positive habits, good decisions, and community service.

“It’s not just about being a pre-K-5 student,” Headen says, “but, being a person who has the potential to move mountains.”

However, it’s difficult to move a mountain alone. So, another major emphasis being taught at LOMES is the ability to build relationships.

“We listen to parents,” Headen adds. “Our teachers and our staff, in general, make an effort to get to know our families and the children we serve. They have good relationships with one another.”

LOMES has cultivated a family atmosphere that often extends beyond the school day. The teachers, staff and administrators treat each student as a member of the LOMES family.

“We’re going to take care of your child,” Headen concludes. “We’re going to keep them safe and make sure they get the best education possible to be prepared for the world.”

The focus on the total student that guides LOMES educational philosophy has resulted in success. LOMES has met or exceeded its academic growth goals for the past five years. It is ranked as a B school.

It also has a highly respected exceptional children’s program. In fact, one of the EC teachers is North Carolina’s current North Central Regional Teacher of the Year: Carol Forrest. In addition, current teacher Carrla Perry is a past EC Teacher of Excellence for the district.

LOMES also boasts other award-winning teachers who have been recognized for excellence in their subject areas.

Overall, LOMES is a top school, and its teachers, administrators and staff are moving forward together with students and their families.

Three adults standing in front of a school

FCS Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, left; LOMES Assistant Principal Dr. Robert Kradel, middle; and, LOMES Principal Dr. Monica Headen, right.


Two adult females in the front office of a school

FCS Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, left, and LOMES Secretary Lorna Harris.


Three adult females in an elementary school classroom

FCS Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, left; LOMES Principal Dr. Monica Headen. middle; and, LOMES Exceptional Children Teacher Casey Holmes.


An adult female teacher seated at a desk working on a computer

LOMES Kindergarten Teacher Annie Harding.