“It feels like everything has been leading to Wesley,” says Debbie Satterfield, Wesley’s new PYP principal. She talks about events coming full circle, and that’s because she has some fascinating connections to both our school and our community.
For starters, Satterfield grew up in the Thomasville neighborhood in Atlanta. She attended Fulton High School and though there’s been a lot of change, recognized some of the streets near where current Wesley students live now.
To make it more interesting, Satterfield began her career in education as a substitute in our very building at the former Ed Cook Elementary. “I was a long-term substitute in a kindergarten class, which was on the ground floor. I returned here, and kindergarten is still downstairs!”
Her presence in the classroom sparked an interest in education as a career, so Satterfield worked as a paraprofessional while pursuing her certification. She served K-7 students with special education needs and learning disabilities, as an Interrelated Teacher for eight years in DeKalb County.
She enjoyed working directly with students but also felt a pull to impact more children. Satterfield returned to school to receive a counseling certification and worked as a guidance counselor for several years before becoming an Assistant Principal. After nearly a decade in that role, Satterfield became principal at Midvale Elementary.
Midvale is also an IB school, and the only one in the state to connect IB curriculum with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) certification. “My belief,” says Satterfield, “is that we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet. Inquiry learning helps them learn to be curious and to explore.”
Satterfield is excited to join the Wesley leadership. She appreciates the freedom that comes with a charter school, allowing teachers and administrators to directly address student needs and make changes that lead to impact on student achievement. When she reflects on her start, Satterfield says, “This was always my calling – to be in education. Coming to Wesley is like coming full circle, and everything says I’m supposed to be here.”
We are grateful to have Ms. Satterfield on our team, and we invite you to meet her at our upcoming Wesley Welcome Day!