Dina Modine is a true believer in family.
With a husband and three kids of her own, the on-the-go mom is used to a tight-knit family atmosphere. That’s why settling in as the new principal at McAlpine Elementary School has been somewhat of a breeze, Modine said.
“It’s such a family atmosphere here,” she said. “It’s the perfect-sized elementary school, and teachers, staff and parents really get to know each other. They have made me feel like part of the family since the first second I walked in the door.”
Modine started as principal at McAlpine less than a month ago, after 14 years in assistant principal positions. She most recently served at Elizabeth Lane Elementary, where she worked since 2004. She also worked as assistant principal at South Charlotte and Quail Hollow middle schools. Before working in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, she served as dean of instruction at George Bush High and in assistant principal roles at Stephan F. Austin and
Kempner high schools, all in Sugarland, Texas. She has a master’s in education from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Louisiana State University.
Modine first started her teaching career after taking the place of her favorite Spanish high school teacher in 1992 – the teacher who inspired Modine to go into the profession.
“She always made learning come to life for us. She really inspired me,” Modine said.
Ten years ago, Modine and her husband Paul, currently a physics teacher at Providence High School, decided to make a move, and North Carolina seemed like a great place to live, with a highly-recommended public education system, Modine said. She researched best places to live and picked Charlotte for its proximity to both beach and mountains. She now resides in south Charlotte.
This year at McAlpine, Modine and staff have already started to create “McAlpine redefined,” a culture of change and progress at the school, Modine said. She only has six more staff members to meet with one-on-one, she said, and so far, she’s been listening to teachers and staff members about ideas, concerns and suggestions.
“We want to make the changes we want to make and go from there. But there are so many things at McAlpine that I would never change,” Modine said, adding the school has been so successful in the past. “It’s always ‘What can we do to make this better?’ from the teachers. The status quo is never going to be good enough and that really energizes me.”
Some initial changes at the school will include single entry to the building, Modine said, to help ensure safety of all students. CMS is making the change across the district. Other changes in the classroom include a balanced literacy program where teachers will further investigate students’ reading and literacy skills. The program will give teachers the chance to differentiate between every child and create more individualized learning.