Dwight Carter, EFCTS Director of Student Support Systems
At Eastland-Fairfield, students are encouraged to find their E - Employment, Education, Enlistment, or Entrepreneurship. Director of Student Support Systems Dwight Carter shows that it’s never too late to develop a second or third passion and find success in each of these categories.Carter recently published his first book as sole author. “Be Great: Five Principles to Improve School Culture from the Inside Out” focuses on five characteristics — Grateful, Relational, Enthusiastic, Authentic, and Teachable (GREAT) — that help principals, teachers and students change their daily attitudes and actions to create the optimal conditions for learning to take place.
After he began sharing his thoughts and opinions on education, leadership, and learning experiences through a blog 11 years ago
, he found himself co-authoring three books with fellow educational leader and mentor Mark White. This gave him the courage to write a book on his own based on what he said are “some guiding principles in my life.”
Carter embodies each of the GREAT characteristics through his daily work, setting an example for his students and peers. He said he’s grateful
for his team; finds joy in his work because of the relationships
he’s established; is enthusiastically
guided by his purpose, which is to positively change lives and impact futures; aims to authentically develop a culture of dignity; and recognizes that change happens faster these days, so he must be adaptable and teachable
to continue to be effective.
How does he juggle his newfound three E’s: full-time role, writing and speaking engagements, and his continuous quest to learn? He said it’s all about alignment and awareness.
“I’ve aligned what I do for a living with my purpose, and write and present about what I experience,” he said. “Also, I tend to worry about doing a great job in my work and, at times, I become mentally paralyzed with worry. When I feel it coming, I slow down and jot a brief to-do list to center myself. This takes self-awareness. We can do many things and do them well, but being self-aware helps us to know that we don’t have to do everything at once and at top speed.”
If he could impart just one piece of wisdom from his book to Eastland-Fairfield staff, students, and families this school year it’s that there are only two things in life we can control, our attitude and actions.
Carter said, “Taking personal responsibility for how we behave and show up determines what we experience. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can absolutely control how we respond.”
If you live by this, Carter shows that the realm of possibility is endless.
Over the course of his 28-year career, Carter has become a nationally-recognized leader in education with additional experience as a teacher and principal in the Gahanna and New Albany school districts. He has been named Principal of the Year by three national organizations, has co-authored three books, and continues to contribute to multiple educational publications. In 2010, Carter was named to the Jostens Renaissance National Educators Hall of Fame and is a 2021 Columbus Africentric Early College Sankofa Emerging Leader award winner.