Meet our Administration
Ms. Gabriel Chidester, Principal
Thank you for such a warm welcome as I embark in my new role as Principal of Conn Magnet Elementary School. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I also hold a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in the field of Educational Leadership and Administration. I am licensed in K-6 Elementary Education, K-12 Reading, K-6 Exceptional Children- General Curriculum, and as a K-12 Principal. During my 16 years in education, I have served in the role of a special education teacher, classroom teacher, Instructional Facilitator, Literacy Coach, and Assistant Principal all at the elementary level. I believe all students deserve to be challenged and engaged in relevant, rigorous, and meaningful learning each day. I was a Teacher of the Year finalist for Virginia Beach City Public Schools and a Cary Chamber’s Honor a Teacher Program finalist during my years as a teacher. In 2018, I was selected to be a member of the first inaugural Assistant Principal Leadership Academy cohort through RTI International. I am a dedicated and passionate educator who enjoys supporting the growth and development of those I serve. I look forward to working with each one of your families on our educational journey together. I am proud to be the new leader of our CONNmUNITY!
Ms. Deborah Edwards, Interim Assistant Principal
Mr. John Williams, Interim Assistant Principal
John Williams began working in North Carolina public schools over 42 years ago. Since retirement, he has worked in interim positions, including Penny Road Elementary – his first assignment as a principal for elementary students. In fact, he told me, “if I could do my career over again, I would seek more time at the elementary school level, where the magic of learning and the joy of teaching hold hands.”
His last interim assignment was Apex High School, where he led the completion of the new construction there and the move from Green Level High back to its home in Apex. Other work in school construction projects includes major renovations at Garner High in the nineties, opening Middle Creek High School, and the renovation of store spaces for Wake County’s first academies to restart students who dropped out of high school. These academies delivered blended instructional delivery strategies much in the manner as we are delivering in all schools today.
Effective November 2, he is being assigned as a part-time assistant principal at Conn Elementary to focus primarily on the move from the present campus back home. The goal of the administration is to create a “featherless” transition to the new campus, with top priorities upon safety and function. Everyone working to promote excellent instruction at Conn now is in overdrive with a laser-like focus on the needs of students returning to in-person instruction. Mr. Williams will work with us to make the moving process as joyful and painless as possible.
A native of Wake County and graduate of WCPSS, he has been a life-long participant in the constantly growing and changing school system. He remembers the energy and excitement to begin the magnet school program. He recently commented, “Conn Elementary was one of the early magnets and remains a distinguished school today. I am honored to join the Conn staff. What starts at Conn changes everything. I will work hard to find those many Conn roots on Brookside Drive and nurture them to grow mightily ahead.”