Thomas-Laurencin Takes Whispering Pines to the Next Level as New Teaching Principal

Posted on September 22nd, 2014

Whispering Pines Seventh-day Adventist Academy | Greater New York Conference
Teaching Principal

Thomas-Laurencin2For the last five years, Whispering Pines SDA Elementary School’s enrollment had been dwindling. After completing a very competitive interview process, the school board knew that the candidate they appointed as principal would be their last hope to turn the school around.

As competitive as the process was, the choice was obvious. Shirley Ann Thomas-Laurencin was unanimously selected by the school board to become Whispering Pines’ new teaching principal because they believed she had the ability to take the school to “the next level.”

They were not disappointed.

Thomas-Laurencin created a new vision for the school, and after one year of her leadership, enrollment jumped from 35 students to 96 students, with a projection of 115-125 for the following school year.

“During my 46-year tenure in the Seventh-day Adventist school system, I have never observed such a dramatic turnaround in any institution,” said David Cadavero, Greater New York Conference Education Department. “[She] has made the school the fastest growing in the Atlantic Union Conference.”

Thomas-Laurencin1Thomas-Laurencin’s vision included the implementation of the “Portfolio System,” a partnership between students, teachers, and parents that enabled them to track student progress and create an individualized action plan. Her vision also included the introduction of more effective learning strategies and study skills, which has improved the students’ scores on national standardized tests and mandated tests from the New York State Department of Education.

“Shirley Ann Thomas-Laurencin is committed to educational excellence and will do whatever it takes to assure that students are receiving a top-notch education at the Whispering Pines SDA Elementary School,” Cadavero said.

Thomas-Laurencin has made service a priority. Students are encouraged to complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service per school year, and those that do are rewarded with a certificate and a ministry beyond the mastery of their ABCs.

Thomas-Laurencin3“I am a firm believer in cultivating in my students the love for service and personal growth,” Thomas-Laurencin said. “For if we are not encouraging our students to discover their true purpose for life, what would their educational experience be?”

Though she has worked hard to improve academics, Thomas-Laurencin has also ensured that students receive a top-notch spiritual education. Students are trained to be spiritual leaders by leading out in worship services and by learning from visiting pastors. Those who are interested or struggling to make tuition payments are also welcome to join the Literature Evangelism Club, where students not only receive financial help, but acquire life-long testimonies, as well.

“Christian educators seek to ‘cooperate with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and [to mold] the character into harmony with His,’” said Kemly McGregor, chairperson on the Whispering Pines School Board. “Mrs. Laurencin’s aim has been to help Whispering Pines School become a place where this purpose is enacted daily.”

Shirley Ann Thomas-Laurencin’s award ceremony was on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at Camp Berkshire.

Greater New York Conference special assistant for development and marketing, David Cadavero, presented the award to Shirley Ann Thomas-Laurencin.

This award was sponsored by Shirley Ann’s alma mater Andrews UniversityAAF would like to thank Andrews University for partnering in this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Filed under News

2 Responses to “Thomas-Laurencin Takes Whispering Pines to the Next Level as New Teaching Principal”

  1. Judith Nelson says:

    So proud of that principal, Dave Cadavero, and Whispering Pines school! I subbed there in the early 80’s and attended that church. And have known and respected Dr. Cadavero many years (though he’s not that old!). He and I graduated from Greater NY Academy, another faith-founded SDA academy begun in 1922 just like La Sierra Academy where I’m currently serving.
    Prayers and blessings for that dear Adventist School and may it continue to be a shining light in that area and therefore also light the world!!

  2. Arlington says:

    Well done, Shirley-Ann! A well-deserved reward for a job well done. I believe that your accomplishments surpassed even YOUR expectations, and certainly those of some of your peers. Keep on keeping on

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