With a notepad at the ready, Jacqueline Chabot was very observant as members of the Sampson County Schools Board of Education discussed matters affecting thousands of students. Thursday’s work session marked a new phase in her career as the new executive administrative assistant for the district.
“It went really well,” Chabot said with a smile about one of her many duties.
The meeting was the first of many to come for Chabot, who took the helm when Ann Merritt retired at the end of the school year. Merritt served the district for almost 40 years, so Chabot knows she has some big shoes to fill.
“I’ve heard that statement a couple of times and I usually fill them,” Chabot said.
Chabot worked for Cumberland County Schools for 23 years. Her career began through volunteering and being a substitute teacher.
“It went from one thing to the next and I think I’ve done just about every kind of job there is,” she said.
One of her accomplishments is playing a major role in the opening of Cumberland County’s Gray’s Creek High School. Along with a few others, the administrative assistant worked out of an elementary school before they moved into the Hope Mills building.
“That was really exciting and fun,” she said. “We had a good time opening up that school.”
As the new executive administrative assistant, Chabot is looking forward to having a hand in the progression of the school district, regardless of it being in a rural area.
“I think we have a lot of talented students that can be very successful,” Chabot said. “I want the kids to be able to shine and be seen. I’m very competitive when it comes to that, I want the best for everybody.”
That includes helping Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy lead the system toward improvements.
“That’s our goal,” Chabot said. “That’s something that I think is in us. That’s the nurturing part we have and we brought it to the school system. We want everyone to be good and acknowledged for their talent.”
The Cumberland County native graduated from Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville and went to Fayetteville Technical Community College. She later married her husband, Robert, and became a stay-at-home mom for several years. They have 29-year-old twin sons, Daniel and Nathan, who are both agriculture teachers; and Dillon, 20, who is also attending college to become an agriculture educator.
Chabot said it feels good to be in Sampson County and enjoys being around the residents. She moved to the area from Hope Mills a few years ago with her husband. When the town in Cumberland County grew, the couple wanted a change of pace.
“We felt like we came back home by moving out here,” Chabot said about enjoying the people and receiving a friendly hello at stores. “We love that, I grew up out in the country and my husband is like that.”
Chabot also feels that the central office is embracing her too. Before she officially began, she received a lot of help from Merritt and showed appreciation for it.
“I already feel like I’m on a team,” she said. “That’s a good feeling to have.”
Bracy is looking forward to working with Chabot in support of the schools of Sampson County.
“She is already embracing the many facets of this position,” Bracy said. “I am sure that the principals, parents and others who contact my office will find her most helpful.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.