Chip Fulmer made a short move Monday to take over a neighboring school.
The former assistant principal at Greenbrier High School now has the reins of Greenbrier Middle.
"I have seen the product they have sent up to us year after year, and I wanted to a part of that preparation," Fulmer said of heading across the street to Greenbrier Middle. "They have set the bar high and I wanted to continue that."
The Columbia County school board approved Fulmer last week; this week is his first on the job replacing Sharon Carson, who accepted a promotion last month as the middle school learning director for the entire system.
Not only does his new school neighbor his former workplace, it is within his neighborhood.
Fulmer resides in the Riverwood Plantation subdivision surrounding the Greenbrier schools complex, and both his children attend Greenbrier Elementary.
"It's one big family here," he said of the Greenbrier schools. "We really do all work together to prepare the students for what's next."
Fulmer started his education career in 1996 as a health and physical education teacher at C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School in Augusta. After two years, he transferred to National Hills Elementary, then to Westside High School, where he coached football and baseball.
It was as a student at Westside that Fulmer developed an interest in teaching.
"(Westside baseball) Coach Gerald Barnes ... turned me on to want to help others and be a positive influence on others' lives," he said.
A desire to expand his influence led Fulmer to apply for an assistant principal's job a Greenbrier High after having been there just one year as a teacher and coach.
"The leadership opportunity was there and I wanted to make a difference, not only in the lives of just my classroom, but the entire student body," he said. "The door opened and I went for it."
Though eager to make his mark, Fulmer said he doesn't intend to immediately institute changes at Greenbrier Middle.
"I'm at a school with a lot of success and the best thing I can do right now is listen to find where we can make improvements," he said.
Good leadership, Fulmer believes, starts with listening.
"I had a lot of good help from a lot of good people around me with the (administration) team at Greenbrier," he said. "I had a lot of good feedback from teachers on what they expected of their leaders."
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