On July 1, Teresa Todd will officially become principal of North Myrtle Beach High School, taking over for Trevor Strawderman as he leaves for an administrative job at the Charleston County School District.
“I was not expecting him to leave,” Todd said. “That was kind of out of the blue, to me.”
Todd has spent her whole career in Horry County Schools, starting as a math teacher at North Myrtle Beach High School, the same high school she’ll lead in July.
After being a math teacher, Todd was an instructional coach, and has served as Strawderman’s assistant principal for the last seven years.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “He’s a wealth of knowledge, he’s good at what he does and I’ve learned a lot. I hope to continue learning and growing, and maybe I’ll be as good as him.”
Todd spent her early childhood in Cobb County Georgia, near Atlanta. The first person who inspired her to go into teaching was her fourth grade English language arts teacher, Judy Shaver.
“She was a lot of fun,” Todd said. “It was so interesting in her class. She gave us a lot of freedom to be creative and I think that was probably my first inkling that I wanted to be a teacher.”
When Todd was almost 11 years old, her family relocated to Aynor, where she attended the old Horry Elementary school, which is now home to Radd Dew’s BBQ.
From there, she went to Aynor High School, and earned her bachelor’s degree while double-majoring in math and secondary education at Coastal Carolina University. She went back to school and earned additional master’s degrees in 2006 and 2011.
She’s spent the last 24 years in Horry County Schools.
“I think it’s a calling, I really do,” Todd said. “You’ve got to love it because there are good days and there are bad days. And you’ve got to know you’re here for the kids. And if you have a bad day, you’ve got to come back and say ‘We’re going to move forward from this,’ and just keep pushing for the kids. The best thing is seeing the kids that maybe struggled, and [at] their graduation, they’re so proud. That’s the best. That’s awesome.”
When Strawderman’s job became open, Todd said she did some “soul-searching” before applying, because the new job is a big responsibility.
“I’ve just been here so long and worked with the faculty and the kids here, and they’re great,” she said. “I just knew this is where I wanted to stay.”
Todd is personally invested in the school herself. Her daughter graduated from there, and her son will be a ninth-grader at NMBHS in the fall.
"Trevor’s children have been here, mine have been here," she said. "Our other assistant principals: one of them has children here, and one of them has family here and younger children in our feeder schools, so we all have a stake."
As Todd prepares to take over, she says she wants to continue building upon Strawderman’s success.
“We want to keep the grad rate moving forward, we want to keep our progress, the kids moving forward in whatever they want to pursue,” she said. “We have kids that are really involved in the arts and we want them to be successful in that. The kids that are really involved in athletics or in community service, we want to encourage those kids to follow their dreams, do what they want to do. And they can do it.
“We’ve had lots of people come through here and talk about what a great four years their children had in high school, and I want that to continue.”