Alumni Spotlight: Channing McCullough
Alumna Channing McCullough (BMus ’09, MAT ’10) was recently named Head of Middle School at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, TN. McCullough is currently serving as Director of Bands and Grade Level Dean at Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ. The department is immensely proud of all her accomplishments including this most recent appointment! We had a chance to speak with McCullough in February 2021 about her time at UNC and her hopes for her students wherever she’s teaching.
UNC Music: What was the most important lesson you learned in your time at UNC?
Channing McCullough: At UNC I learned perspective, courage, empathy, leadership, and to be my authentic self. I learned to make space for growth and to cherish all experiences along the way. Most importantly, at UNC I began to develop and understand what called me to education. Jeff Fuchs would often remark that he was in education, specifically music education, because it allowed him to help students craft memories and to learn about themselves. This, too, has been my work. Using education as a tool to help students experience life in a way that prompts them to think, explore, challenge, serve and make change.
Music: How do you feel your time at Forsyth Country Day and Princeton Day School has prepared you for this new position?
McCullough: At both Forsyth Country Day and at Princeton Day School, I was afforded the opportunity to lead in various capacities. Immersing myself in the operation, culture, and history of a school has given me a comprehensive perspective. This perspective enables me to lead thoughtfully and effectively while keeping all school constituents at the forefront of decision making. I have managed a private lesson program, fundraised and advocated for the arts, been a Dean, directed the school musicals, and have led the band program to tremendous growth both musically and numerically. I have coached three seasons of sport at both Middle School and Varsity levels. I have also assisted in training faculty in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, read admissions applications, and served on both the Standards of Dress and the Risk Management Committees. I sit with parents regularly to discuss their school experience and the experience of their children.
There is no part of school that is unfamiliar to me. I am prepared to step into this role that calls for a wide array of experiences. More than just experience though, having creativity, enthusiasm for learning and a heart that listens deeply is preparation to lead. I love middle school and lean into all the awesomely awkward discovery that life in a middle school brings.
Music: What is your biggest hope for students at Franklin Road Academy?
McCullough: My hope for students is entirely rooted in my philosophy of education. Simply put, “Everything we seek to understand and all that we are is connected to something and someone else.” My hope is that what students learn will allow them to see the context and the connections in our world and then shine light in overlooked, forgotten, or simply underappreciated places.
Music: If students could learn one thing from you, what do you hope it would be?
McCullough: From me, I hope students will see a model of how to be authentically themselves while also allowing space to grow. I hope they learn patience, grace, and grit from me based on what I show them daily. I hope they learn the joy that comes from gratitude and from serving others.