May 10, 2021

Discovery Place Kids welcomes Rockingham native, longtime educator as museum director

Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham names Angela Watkins new director.

ROCKINGHAM – Retired school principal Angela Watkins has been named director of Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham, officially taking over the role earlier this month.
A native of Rockingham, Watkins has spent her entire career working in school systems within the region. Through her work in elementary education, she is no stranger to the Museum, having partnered with Discovery Place on various occasions to promote learning and community engagement among youth.

“Since it opened in Rockingham nearly 10 years ago, Discovery Place Kids has been a tremendous asset to our community. The learning opportunities and offerings of the Museum align with and compliment the work I have been passionate about for my entire career up to this point,” Watkins said. “Now, I am thrilled to be able to be a part of the Museum family and use my past professional experiences to help Discovery Place continue to serve this region in such critical and fundamental ways.”

Watkins began her career in education as a teacher at Fairview Elementary School, where she worked for nearly 15 years before joining Richmond County Schools on the district-wide level as a literacy lead teacher. In 2005, Watkins became an assistant principal at Richmond Primary School and, in 2008, she joined Monroe Avenue Elementary School as an assistant principal. She later moved to Rockingham Middle School to serve as assistant principal before being named the principal of Washington Street Elementary School in 2012. She served as principal there until her retirement at the end of 2020 and was named the Richmond County Schools “Principal of the Year” for the 2020-21 school year.

Whether it is children visiting the Museum as part of a school field trip or families coming to explore for the day, Watkins is ready to welcome them with open arms – and plenty of fun learning opportunities.

“Regardless of my title or role, my goal is always to make a difference in children’s lives,” she said. “I want them to value knowledge and education, to set goals for themselves and always dream big.”

Watkins earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina Pembroke. She later received her master’s degree in curriculum and supervision as well as additional post-graduate education credits from East Carolina University.

“Angela’s deep connection to the community and her obvious passion for helping children achieve their goals makes her a perfect fit for this role,” said Catherine Wilson Horne, Discovery Place president and CEO. “We are coming out of a particularly challenging year for all of us, but especially for young learners, and I am looking forward to having her on board as we continue to serve the needs of the community.”

Watkins lives in Rockingham with her husband, Paul. They have two grown sons, Caleb and Alex.