Teachers take the place of parents for children in school as they guide and mold their character and personality during the formative years. A good teacher helps students to realize their capabilities and hone their skills. The relationship between the teacher and student creates a comfortable and secure learning environment that nurtures young minds. Dr. Shanessa Fenner, Principal, William T. Brown Elementary School, Cumberland County Schools, is a trailblazing educationist and has impacted many lives by playing various roles throughout her career.
Dr. Fenner obtained her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University. She taught at an elementary school for six years. She went on to obtain two master’s degrees from Fayetteville State University in the areas of Elementary Education and School Administration. She was also awarded the North Carolina Principal Fellows Scholarship. She then became an assistant principal at a local middle school for four years and went to get her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University during the last year of her tenure before moving on to becoming the principal. Dr. Fenner now serves as the principal of four schools under the Cumberland County Schools.
Donning Many Hats
In addition to being a highly regarded principal and an immensely motivated Black woman, Dr. Fenner plays several other roles in her free time as well. She writes songs, blogs, hosts a TV show, performs community service, and is a print model, motivational speaker, and actress. Dr. Fenner loves writing and feels that words are the best way to express feelings and emotions. She is a writer for around 15 publications and authors a blog at The Fayetteville Observer Newspaper called “Dr. Fenner’s Hot Topics”. Dr. Fenner also has her own TV show, “The Bronco Exchange”, on Channel 7. A former radio personality on KISS 107.7 FM, she had her own radio show titled “Real Talk with Dr. Fenner” and co-hosted a radio show called “iTeach”. She is also a songwriter and has written several songs that have been recorded for two artists’ albums.
Awards and Recognitions
Dr. Fenner’s wonderful academic work has not gone unnoticed, as she has been the recipient of several accolades. She was the principal of the Year finalist for her school district in 2021 and is currently a new member of POWER (Professional Organization of Women of Excellence Recognized), which highlights experts in various fields. She has modeled for several prestigious magazines and featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelorettes, and in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Someone, You Should Know” section. She was voted one of the most influential women in Fayetteville and won the Best Local Columnist and Best Local TV show awards. She was a recipient of The Fayetteville Observer’s “Forty Under Forty Award” and featured in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Role Model Beyond Beauty” column. Dr. Fenner was the hair spokesmodel for Bee Mine Hair Products. Last year, her TV interview with Congressman John Lewis for her show was aired everywhere and received a great response.
Word of Advice
She believes that people were placed on Earth to do great things, and that is what she plans on doing. She wishes to write a book next that would help and impact more lives as she does not want to go to her grave thinking there is still much left to do. Her goal is simple – she does not want anyone to struggle and wishes everyone to be happy. As an ambitious and secure person, she wants others to achieve great things in life and succeed. She believes that most of the time, people do not live up to their full potential and are bothered by what others think of them, and this is what holds them back. “Don’t wait to do great things. Put all fear and negativity aside and work in private by sharpening your skills. Be true to yourself, study hard, and ignore what others say; live your own truth. Always reach for the stars and do not let people make you feel you are not worthy because you are smart, talented, and able-bodied,” Dr. Fenner said while speaking with WomLEAD Magazine.
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