Meet Detra Watson: A Passionate Educational Leader Joining the Carroll Community

Meet Detra Watson: A Passionate Educational Leader Joining the Carroll Community
Detra Watson, Lower School Division Head


I am thrilled to extend my warm greetings to the Carroll Community in my new role as the Lower School Division Head. It is with great humility and honor that I have been selected to lead the wonderful students, staff, and parents at Carroll. My primary goal is to foster an inclusive and vibrant learning environment that caters to students with language-based learning differences, as well as the dedicated teachers and staff who support them.

Throughout my extensive 20-plus years of experience in education, I have had the privilege of working in various capacities within both international and independent schools, both abroad and nationally. One core belief that I have consistently held is the equal importance of social and emotional learning alongside academic growth. I am eager to collaborate with all of you to maintain and enhance this holistic approach to education at Carroll.

My Educational Philosophy & Carroll’s Mission

One of the fundamental Orton-Gillingham principles is emotionally sound teaching and learning. While all the principles hold great importance and are interwoven into the fabric of Carroll School, the concept of emotional well-being resonates deeply with me. I firmly believe that every member of a community deserves to feel heard, valued, and understood. These vital components build a foundation of trust, collaboration, and effective communication.

Mind, Brain, Education (MBE) science has shown that a safe and trusting environment calms the nervous system, leading to increased student engagement in the learning process. At Carroll, our mission forms the bedrock of this secure environment. I view our mission as an education that equally engages the mind, heart, and spirit. This holistic approach nurtures a community where individuals recognize the connections between their talents, actions, purpose, and, most importantly, their humanity. When people believe in what they are doing and understand they are part of something greater, their commitment to achievement, responsibility, and productivity flourishes.

My goal has always been to cultivate and expand the impact of an inclusive community that demonstrates love in action—love for oneself, others, and the world—through open-mindedness, self-awareness, and critical thinking. I firmly believe that children are capable, intelligent human beings with agency and a voice, possessing the power and drive to chart their own course.

To bring this vision to life, it is essential to model these skills from teachers to students, administrators to teachers, and foster a strong partnership between administrators and parents. As an educational leader, my aim is to encourage and expand self-discovery, resiliency, independent thinking, and civic engagement as quintessential skills. Equipping students with these capabilities will set them on a path to success.

Community Building and the ERIK (Empathy, Respect, Inclusion, Kindness) Principles

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King states, “Intelligence plus character—that is a goal of true education.”

As a new member of the Carroll community, I recognize the significance of creating opportunities for meaningful relationship building. One of my primary objectives is to get to know the students, teachers, families, and staff at Carroll while also allowing them to get to know me. Understanding that trust forms the foundation of healthy relationships, I am committed to dedicating time, patience, consistency, and genuine interactions to build strong bonds.

In my approach to community engagement, I will utilize the values highlighted in ERIK as a lens through which to reflect, process, problem solve, teach, and learn. Now that I am part of the Carroll community, the acronym ERIK provides a valuable framework that I can incorporate into my interactions and decision-making.

Let’s Get to Know Each Other: Drop In and Say Hi

I am planning multiple meet-and-greet sessions to strengthen connections within the Carroll community during the first month of school. Moreover, my door is always open and I extend an open invitation to everyone to drop by and visit this summer. This would be the perfect opportunity for you and your child(ren) to introduce yourselves to me. Please feel free to reach me at dwatson@carrollschool.org to coordinate a date and time.

Fun Facts about Ms. Watson

  • I love going to concerts and listening to many genres of music, especially the musical genius, Stevie Wonder.
  • I also enjoy attending plays. August Wilson is one of my favorite playwrights.
  • I love spending quality time playing games with my family and loved ones. I am the reigning Uno champion in my family.

I am excited for this journey ahead, and I eagerly anticipate meeting each of you and embarking on this wonderful educational adventure together. Let's work hand in hand to create a vibrant and thriving Carroll community.

Welcome Video for Students, Families, and Faculty



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