Randy Sain - Class of 1978
Educator – Principal, Hildebran Elementary School

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” This line by the famous inspirational speaker Kent Keith is one of many that inspire Randy Sain. Currently serving as principal at HIldebran Elementary School, Randy’s philosophy that we should all work together with understanding and love has made him a highly respected educator and a friend to the students, the parents, and the community.

“I grew up on Crow Hill,” says Randy, “and, thanks to Wilson Bradshaw and my grandpa, I knew how to work. When I got out of college, I went to work at the bakery in Valdese, where I learned that ANY job that needed to be done was MY job. It still drives me crazy to hear someone say, ‘That’s not MY job!’ I worked nights at the bakery for the first eight years I taught school, so I have little sympathy when I hear someone say, ‘Well, I just don’t have time (to help my kids)’! “My best memories of East Burke High School were of playing ball for Andy Anderson and Bob Bliss and the many great friends I made that I wouldn’t have gotten to know if we hadn’t consolidated. I wouldn’t have gotten to know the folks from Hildebran, Drexel, and George Hildebrand that have been such blessings to me!

“My senior year, some of my buddies, led by Ricky Deaton, Alan Bonner, and Drew Van Horn, snookered me into running for Student Body President, and I won! I learned a lot of leadership skills in that office, but the best thing about it was getting to know so many people who are still my friends today. I also learned to never ever underestimate what a gang of friends can get you into!

“I was led by the Lord into education while playing Santa Claus! One of my future colleagues discovered I could speak several languages, and that started the process of getting me into teaching. I had many great teachers who influenced me. One who stands out is my fifth-grade teacher, Jan Martin Garrou, who later was my colleague and still later was a member of my faculty when I was a principal! Talk about knowing everyone in the community! Another great influencer was Bob Hennessee, who is the one who encouraged me to go into education. I owe him so much.

“I had earned a Bachelor of Arts in French from ASU, so I went on to earn my teaching license at Lenoir-Rhyne. I taught Spanish and German for two years at George Hildebrand Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary and then moved on to East Burke Middle School, where I taught French, Spanish, and German until 2004. It was Principal Robert Patton who encouraged me to become a principal myself, and then he taught me how to be one. I went on to get a Master’s Degree in Administration from ASU, and during the year 2004-05 I served as assistant principal at Table Rock Middle School and Heritage Middle School. In 2005, I became a principal and have served at Icard Elementary, East Burke Middle, W. A. Young Elementary, and Hildebran Elementary. I owe such a debt of gratitude to these teachers and administrators who guided me along the path. I must add that, even though I value my formal education, my most helpful education came from the School of Life!”

Just like people in every other career, principals also experience both challenges and rewards. Randy reflects on what means the most to him. “I enjoy being around kids, teaching them not only about school subjects but about right and wrong as well. I try to be a positive influence to each one of my little ones. The most challenging thing to me is seeing and knowing the hardships and struggles my little ones (and their families) have to go through every day just to get by. I make it a point to make sure that every kid at my school sees a smiling face and gets a pat on the back, a hug, or a word of encouragement every day! The rewards for me are seeing the kids overcome all the struggles and barriers they have and be successful. Best payday I ever have is when I see a kid that I know had two strikes against him turn into a positive influence on the kids behind him!”

Even after retirement, which is likely not too far away, Randy hopes to remain a positive influence. “I plan to try to live up to as many of Kent Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments as I possibly can!” They are shared below:


Published September 2019

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