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Golden Bull Legacy: Three-generation alumna shares her journey to success

Dr. Regina J. BoydCharlotte, N.C. / July 17, 2020 - Upon graduating from Johnson C. Smith University in 1994, Dr. Regina Boyd ‘94, a three-year generation alumna, began working in the CMS system as a kindergarten teacher at Collinswood Elementary School. After teaching at Collinswood, she became part of the leadership team and assisted with the establishment of Collinswood Dual Language Academy. 

For 28 years, she has traveled through the CMS ranks, working as a teacher, facilitator, curriculum specialist and director of English Learner Services and principal. She currently serves as the principal at University Park Creative Arts (UPCA) Elementary School, a magnet school that offers a Visual and Performing Arts program, near Beatties Ford Road. Boyd says that she is proud to be back in the neighborhood where she began her educational journey. "It is an honor to be back in the community and I look forward to working with the team at UPCA to use our magnet arts theme to open doors and opportunities for our scholars,” she exclaimed. 

The experience at an HBCU provided her the opportunity to be part of a legacy and traditions deeply rooted in the history of her family. 

Growing up as a young child, Boyd knew she wanted to be an educator. She enjoyed mentoring and volunteering with the youth at church. Her mother, Eleanor Jeanne Moore Boyd ‘59, a retired principal and director of Special Education and father, Willie Thomas Boyd ’64, a math teacher and girls’ basketball coach, also influenced her.  

“I come from a long line of educators on both sides of my family,” she said. “My maternal grandfather Shepard S. Moore ‘38 led the way serving as the principal at Farmers Union Elementary School in Clarkton, North Carolina. It is the care and compassion modeled by my family that has influenced my role as a principal today.” 

On March 30, 2020, CMS system closed to honor North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order, which reduced the size of gatherings to ten people. Although the school doors were closed, it didn’t mean that educators would stop going the extra mile for their students by coming into their homes for virtual learning. 

CMS teachers have used virtual learning tools to reach scholars in their home and collaborate with parents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, grandparents and siblings to teach lessons.

“Without a doubt as educators we have to prepare for scholars who have experienced a gap in their educational journey. Our scholars will come back with a variety of social and emotional needs pending on how they have traveled through the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will have to leverage all of our resources to reestablish the physical school community,” she said. 

As a transformational leader in elementary education, she understands that the impact of COVID-19 is different for each individual and will require more compassion and care. “Our scholars are digital consumers and they’ve had to quickly adjust to being digital learners.  The shift was and is challenging because the physical support of the school environment was removed. The impact will be long lasting,” she said.  

Educators do more than teach.  They wear many hats during a normal school day. “We adjusted our teaching and services in a matter of days. The launch of virtual learning has increased the investment of time for self-care,” she added. 

As a school leader, Dr. Boyd believes that it is her duty to create the space for her team to be able to reach each individual scholar where they are and help them to meet and surpass the academic standards while attending to their social and emotional needs.  

“It is my job to pour into the teachers, custodians, cafeteria team and administrative staff to provide opportunities to work together to assist parents and ensure that our scholars are provided rigorous learning opportunities within our school community,” she exclaimed.  The overwhelming support of her colleagues and compassion for students created a tight-knit family, like the one she experienced attending JCSU. 

As an elementary education major at the University, Dr. Boyd wasn’t just a number, her professors and administrative officials knew her by name. She credits her education professor Julia Saunders and 12th President Dr. Dorothy Cowser-Yancey for her leadership style. “Mrs. Saunders had high standards for all education majors.  She ensured we represented the university well from the way we dressed, spoke and worked as student teachers in the community,” she emphasized. “The support from Dr. Yancey will never be forgotten. She motivated and pushed me to pursue a doctoral degree in education and I did.” 

The endless support at JCSU helped prepare Dr. Boyd for her profession. With the help of head men’s basketball coach Stephen Joyner, Sr. ‘73, she learned the importance of community involvement and engagement in college.   

“He allowed me to work with the National Youth Sports Program, a national sports program previously held at JCSU, as the education coordinator. We added the education component highlighting the importance of math and science. He affirmed the importance of giving back to the community in which our beloved university resides. This is another reason why I am humbled to be working near JCSU,” she continued. 

Dr. Boyd states that her impact in the community has been one of her most rewarding experiences at UPCA. “We were able to provide learning tools for our scholars during the pandemic.  We sent home new books and learning resources to support our scholars’ ability to learn in their home environments,” she said.  “Watching our school team come together to gather food, books, games, school supplies for each scholar was heart-warming.  We collected items valued at over $7,000 for students during the pandemic.  We teach but most importantly, we care!  It is an honor to serve alongside an amazing group of teachers and support staff who give all they have each day to make a difference in the life of a child,” she said. 

Dr. Boyd is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves as a higher education adjunct professor and Summer Principal Academy Coach at Columbia University, where she received a doctoral degree in educational leadership. 

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