Off Duty

Never a dull moment for top principal

pseligson@newsobserver.comOctober 25, 2013 

In “Off Duty,” the Smithfield Herald asks community leaders about their interests – what they’re reading, what they’re listening to, what they’re watching.

Eddie Price is principal of South Johnston High School and the county’s Principal of the Year. He graduated from Clayton High School in 1986 and changed his mind a few times in college: first architecture, then law and finally teaching. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in English and began teaching at Clayton High School in 1992.

Price later taught at Richmond County High School and then South Brunswick High. He became assistant principal of Clayton Middle School after earning his master’s degree in school administration from N.C. State University in 2002. He became principal of South Johnston High in 2010 and is set to finish a doctorate at N.C. State next year.

Price is married to Kathy Price. The two met at a coaching clinic in Greensboro; he said she struck up a conversation with him about teaching English, and the relationship moved on from there. The couple have two sons and a daughter, all 10 or younger; two chihuahuas and an Italian Mastiff.

“We do not have any dull moments in our house,” he said.

What are your hobbies? When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. However, I do enjoy working on the farm. I have a few beef cattle that occupy my free time. If I had more time, I would research my family history.

What music have you been listening to lately? I don’t listen to much music, but when I do, I enjoy listening to David Gray and Johnny Lang. I have been known to listen to Elvis, Johnny Cash and Rascal Flatts. I guess there is a similarity in these artists. Their music has “real people” themes full of hardships and failure.

What books are you currently reading? My reading list for the last few years has been dominated my material relevant to my dissertation. I also read books that discuss school reform for school leaders. My reading list would be considered pretty boring by most.

What is your favorite television show? I don’t watch much TV either, but when I do, I gravitate toward the crazy reality shows. For a few months, I was glued to the “Turtle Man” and “Duck Dynasty.” In the last several years, I have only followed two TV series – “24” and “The Following.” I am not interested in watching violence, but I guess I do enjoy suspense.

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would you dine with? There are many people who would make my dining list, but if I had to choose three ... Jesus Christ, John Wooden and George Washington. Obviously, there are questions I would want to ask each. I would want to have a conversation with Jesus about compassion and humanity as applied to today’s world. I would want to present Coach Wooden with scenarios I have faced and ask him to explain the balance between the commitment to rules and individual benefit – much like the story when he gave Bill Walton an ultimatum of shaving his facial hair or leaving the team. Finally, I would like to talk with George Washington about the status of the United States – an analysis of where we are today in regards to the original intent.

Describe a perfect day. Spending time on the farm with my family, running through the woods with the kids, listening to them laughing – a day that seems to last forever!

What is the most fascinating place you’ve been to? I probably learned more about counting my blessings when I traveled to the Philippines, but as for fascinating, I don’t think any place rivaled China. I was amazed at the number of people, the disparity of wealth and education, and the beauty of the sacred places like the Great Wall.

What is the one food you can’t resist? Bread.

If you had to perform in a talent show, what would your talent be? When and how did you discover or develop your talent? I don’t think I have a talent. I envy so many others who can sing, dance, perform or make jokes. My wife’s family likes to hear me tell stories. I am not sure if it is due to my storytelling ability or the fact that they find my experiences strange.

What is something that some might be surprised to know about you? I’m sensitive. I analyze and reflect on everything that people say about me. I think most people think that I am serious and intense, showing little emotion. My exterior doesn’t match my interior.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be a more patient person. In my profession, I am constantly multitasking. Often, I try to get more accomplished than possible. I am sure it is frustrating for my colleagues ... and I know it is frustrating for my family.

What is your most embarrassing moment? I don’t recall a particular moment. I have typically found it better to laugh at myself with or without others present.

Seligson: 919-836-5768

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