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Upbeat Sinai Elementary School principal to retire

Halifax County Public Schools will lose yet another tenured educator this June as Michael R. Wilborne, principal at Sinai Elementary School, retires after nearly four decades within the school system.


After being an educator with the school system for “39 years and 4 months,” Wilborne has decided the time is right for him to leave his post.

He began his career in the classroom as a teacher and Title I math teacher at Turbeville Elementary where he taught for seven years.

Wilborne then moved to South of Dan Elementary where he was coordinator of administration and instruction until he moved to Sinai Elementary where he has been principal for the past 26 years.

“It has been exceptional working with the educators in Halifax County and watching the successes of the children throughout the years. I am so fortunate to have worked with such great educators and awesome children,” said Wilborne.

The upbeat principal said in an interview Friday it was a joy for him to come to work each day, and he is going to truly miss working with the people and being with the children every day and hearing them in the halls of the elementary school.

“I am honored, privileged and humbled to have worked in the Halifax County School System for 39 years and 4 months,” said Wilborne.

When Wilborne broke the news to his staff a month ago, they were stunned and surprised.

His family had a similar reaction, “They don’t believe it, and they said they won’t believe it until they read it in the newspaper,” he added.

Along with the time being right, Wilborne said the changes in the Virginia Retirement System had an impact on his decision to retire.

“I’ve been upset with the way things are going with VRS in Richmond,” said Wilborne.

After his retirement becomes effective June 30, Wilborne said he plans to do some traveling to places like Nashville, Tenn. and New York City where he plans to continue his passion of collecting autographs.

He also looks forward to spending time with his family and substitute teaching.

He is currently working to get everything in order for the next administrator who will come in to take his place as principal at the elementary school.

“I have always been so appreciative that my parents were supportive and that all six of us (siblings) received an education. I don’t have any regrets. I’m excited to be part of a great school system,” said Wilborne.

Some of his most memorable experiences spent as a principal at Sinai Elementary include when Dollar General came on board as a partner for the accelerated reader program to improve the reading skills for the students, when the school was accredited by the State Board of Education and met Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks, when the school received a $200,000 grant for the 21st Century After School Program and most recently when the school received donations for the new playground.

“I have had a super staff, the best parents who are very supportive, the children are absolutely great, and it takes dedicated and caring teachers to work with children today. I’ve been blessed with that. I have had a great support staff,” said Wilborne.

“In education you have to be positive and upbeat, and you can’t do that if you’re negative. You have to keep everything moving forward,” he concluded.