Adrienne Carter's older brother never brought a book home from school and "sailed" through his classes.

Adrienne Carter's older brother never brought a book home from school and "sailed" through his classes.

That was not the case for her.

"I struggled all through school and wasn't sure about college, whether I had the confidence to be successful," Carter said.

Nevertheless, Carter made it through Groveport Madison schools and then Canal Winchester High School when her family moved prior to her freshman year. She found the necessary confidence and was successful at Ohio University, where she majored in special education.

Now she's principal at Salem Elementary School, which draws students from the surrounding Northland neighborhood and parts of Clintonville.

Carter said earlier this month that on the eve of her graduation from Ohio University in 2000, her mother shared something that only increased her daughter's feeling of accomplishment.

It seemed that years earlier, one of little Adrienne's teachers had taken her mother aside and advised her not to push the girl, saying she was "only an average student who would never get to college."

Carter not only got to college but also went on to graduate from the University of Dayton, where she studied community counseling and worked toward obtaining her license as a school counselor.

She took over this year as the administrator for Salem Elementary School after the popular Gail Buick stepped down last fall after 15 years as principal. The new principal said she has the same ambitions for her students at Salem, even though they are young and a significant proportion of them are in English as a Second Language programs.

"College is always an option and always should be," Carter said.

Carter, 34, started working for Columbus City Schools in 2003 as a counselor at Trevitt Elementary School. Throughout her career with the district, Carter said she has been encouraged to take on a leadership role.

After spending some time in the curriculum office at district headquarters, she most recently was enrolled in a two-year internship program in which she was mentored by different principals, first at Hamilton STEM Academy, then Westmoor Middle School and finally Huy Elementary School and its A.G. Bell program for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

When she heard of the principal vacancy coming up at Salem, Carter she didn't hesitate to apply.

"Ultimately, from word of mouth, it was a hidden treasure back here in the neighborhood -- a successful school with a lot of community involvement," she said.

It's been a pleasant first few weeks in the new position, Carter said.

"We have a wonderful, wonderful team here -- fabulous students eager to learn," she said. "They get off the bus excited. Being in the classrooms and seeing the instruction going on, the students are eager to learn, and that's a wonderful atmosphere."

In her short time at Salem Elementary, Carter added she has witnessed firsthand the level of support the school receives from outside its walls.

"It's a partnership, not only with the parents but with the community resources that are out there," she said.

Carter and her husband live in Pataskala and have a 16-month old daughter, Arianna.

"I truly think that has made me a stronger educator, being a parent myself," she said.