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Galbreath takes over as new Pine Island Elementary principal

Longtime Trafalgar Middle administrator a midyear replacement at island school

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Feb 8, 2024

Dr. Michael Galbreath

After 18 years at Trafalgar Middle School, Dr. Michael Galbreath assumed his new position as principal of Pine Island Elementary on Jan. 10. He has had a total of 30 years now in the educational industry, which has more than prepared him for the role he’s taking on, although when he heard the position at Pine Island Elementary School opened, he said it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.  

“The interview process was pretty intense. A lot of rooms, a lot of folks, the school staff had representation, there was parent representation, so that was great to see that they were also involved in the interview process,” Galbreath said.

PIE’s previous principal, Dr. Tom Millins, moved to another district school, Edgewood Academy, as of Jan. 3, after four years on the island. 

There is an overwhelming amount of things to remember that come with the job of “new principal,” Galbreath said, however, chief among them, he admits, is the importance of building relationships. His rapport with staff will be built on a mutual trust, as the teachers at a school are the experts in the trenches who know what they need and his job is to help them be the best teachers they can be, with support and guidance, he said. When he originally went into the administration role as an educator, Galbreath said he made it a goal to become an underlying support system who would do whatever he could to help teachers be as successful as possible.   

The community’s desire to support the school and students has come across in a major way, Galbreath said. His goal with the students in particular is to find out what special gift each of them has and help them expand on it while simultaneously fostering a love for learning. This is a unique way in which educators can prepare students for a successful next step in middle school and then in high school. Pine Island has a reputation for being an enthusiastically supportive community, which Galbreath had heard and was expecting, however, even the new principal of Pine Island Elementary School found himself unprepared for the outpouring of generosity from a community ready to embrace him in his new position. 

“From what I’ve seen so far, the support has been absolutely amazing. Everybody’s been very welcoming, very kind, very positive. Everyone’s love for Pine Island Elementary definitely shows through,” Galbreath said. 

His desire is that the encouragement and support he’s received from parents and community members would be ongoing, he said.  

“Boy do I love it. The teachers here are incredible — the family atmosphere, the smiles — the smiles on the kid’s faces,” Galbreath said with a grin.