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STEAM leader Dr. Melissa Negreiros named principal at Philip Simmons Elementary

Published Wednesday, May 9, 2018

PSE principal photo

Pictured from left to right are former PSE principal Dr. Karen Whitley and the school's new principal, Dr. Melissa Negreiros. (BCSD photo)

It’s full STEAM ahead for Philip Simmons Elementary after the Berkeley County Board of Education approved the hiring of the school’s next principal on Tuesday evening.

Dr. Melissa Negreiros began her career in education in 2003 as a math and pre-algebra teacher at Cross High School. She will now begin her new role of PSE’s top administrator in July 2018.

Her love for math eventually led her to the path of STEM and STEAM learning practices. Her background in STEM/STEAM research, instructional practices and leadership led her to pursue the opportunity at PSE, which opened its doors in 2016 as a STEAM–focused school.

From start to finish, it was about a month-long process to identify the school’s new leader.

“Philip Simmons Elementary is a STEAM school and has been from the very beginning," said BCSD Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Karen Whitley. "The stakeholders were very definite that they wanted someone who had that vision for a STEAM school and that person would be able to build on the strengths of the school and move forward.”

Dr. Whitley was able to start the school with that vision as PSE’s first principal. As a member of BCSD’s STEAM committee, Dr. Negreiros was placed at Philip Simmons when the doors opened to help the school reach what stakeholders and administrators desired. She assisted experts from Clemson University with STEAM trainings at the school and was the driving force behind STEAM activities on the campus.

“The exciting thing about having Dr. Negreiros as the principal is she’s been right there by my side. She was very instrumental in shaping the activities and the maker space room. I feel very confident that she’s going to take Philip Simmons Elementary where it is and move it forward. They sky’s the limit.”

In addition to leading successful STEAM efforts at PSE, Dr. Negreiros was recently recognized as a STEM Educator of the Month by Lowcountry STEM Collaborative. She said she’s excited about using her STEAM/STEM knowledge on an administrative level and building upon what teachers, the community, students have already accomplished.

“I’ve been there since the beginning” Dr. Negreiros said. “It means a lot to me, and I have a lot of passion for this specific school.”

Brian Troutman