A longtime Raleigh “Viper,” Nick Taylor is now sinking his fangs in his new role as principal intern at Knightdale High.
Q: What is exactly a “principal intern” and how did you end up at Knightdale High?
A: I am interning while I am working toward my masters in school administration. I had worked for Dr. Argent (Knightdale High principal Jim Argent) at Lake Myra Elementary. I taught fifth grade for two years there. Before that, I had taught third grade for nine years in Connecticut.
Q: Are you from Connecticut?
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A: I was born in San Diego but I grew up in Connecticut. My mom’s family is originally from Queens. We were in San Diego because my dad took a job out west but we moved back East to be closer to my mom’s family.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?
A: When I was in about fifth grade, I figured it out and just knew that is what I wanted to be.
Q: There must have been some influential teachers who made a big impact on you and inspired you to become an educator.
A: I did have a teacher in the fourth grade and a teacher in the fifth grade that really got me thinking.
Q: What made them so special?
A: They both pushed the kids in the class, pushed us harder than we thought we could do but we knew they cared. The fourth-grade teacher was an elderly, grandmother type but she had tons of energy and enthusiasm. We learned that if we ever got to have a celebration in class, we had to work for it. The fifth-grade teacher was the first male teacher I had. He was very loud – very loud and intense all day (laughing). But it was a good loud. I have been told I am a lot like that by my students (laughing). When I graduated high school, I got my undergrad degree at Keene State College in New Hampshire and then I got my masters in elementary education from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. I am now finishing my masters at N.C. State.
Q: So you have spent most of your career at elementary schools and now you are at Knightdale High. That must be quite a change for you?
A: I have to say I am really enjoying the conversations you can have in high school. Obviously, they are quite different then the kind of conversations you can have with elementary students.
Q: Why leave the classroom?
A: I realized in the classroom, you can have an impact on just so many students. As principal, you can have an effect on a greater amount of people. I needed a new challenge and I have enjoyed it.
Q: You also have a new addition to the family?
A: I have a three-month-old son. My wife and I are much busier now but it is a good busy. I met my wife in Connecticut. She is also a teacher and we were teaching in the same elementary school. Our parents retired to South Carolina. We were ready to move South. We do not miss the snow. We looked around and we liked the schools in North Carolina more. We were lucky enough to find a job right away. She is still at Lake Myra.
Q: Of course you have a full plate, but are there any hobbies that keep your interest?
A: I play rugby. I have played for the Raleigh Vipers for 16 years. It has allowed me to run around and it helps keep me in shape.
Q: Rugby can be rough. Any injuries?
A: I have had some broken fingers and a few bruised ribs. With school and a new baby, I have had to cut back on travel to games outside Raleigh. And my wife and I like to travel but we don’t fly so spending time together in a car is the chance for us catch up and talk. And see the country.
Correspondent Dena Coward