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Fly among the stars: Presley-King helps others take flight

Executive Director of Secondary Education Rae Presley-King supports others as they take flight.

A self-proclaimed Army brat, Presley-King was born in Germany and also lived in England, Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina, along with a stop in Columbus, Georgia. She still considers Pittsburgh her home.

“That’s where my family’s from,” she said.

Her father and brother were both military, and she knew she wanted to go into the Army. She attended Howard University on an ROTC scholarship with eyes on flying.

She thinks back to General Hines who was in charge of personnel and branch placement while she was there. He ensured that every cadet who graduated on time got the branch they wanted.

“I’m really inspired by strong leaders who have a vision,” she said. “People like that who think about where they’ve come from and then give back blindly. People like that inspire me.”

She was an Army aviation officer working for the 8th Infantry Division who spent a lot of time in Germany flying back and forth from East to West. She was there when the Berlin Wall came down.

“It was a great experience.”

When she left the service, a woman with the military transition program helped set the course for the rest of her life. Presley-King’s mother was a teacher, but she had no intention of joining the profession. She was convinced to give it a try.

“I ended up getting my masters in education because of this stranger who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

Presley-King eventually made her way back to Georgia in advance of the Summer Olympics in 1996. First came teaching science at Flat Rock Middle. After 2 years teaching at the American Academy for Girls in Kuwait, she returned and taught, then was an assistant principal at JC Booth Middle. She opened Bennett’s Mill Middle as principal and eventually made her way to the district headquarters.

“What made me stay was the quality of education and all that we do here in Fayette County for students and families. There was no way that I would go to another county because I knew what I had here.”

In her current position, Presley-King provides leadership, guidance, and support to our secondary principals and assistant principals. She also works to provide internal leadership development opportunities. One of those initiatives is the administrative internship program for teachers who aspire to become assistant principals or curriculum leaders.

“I want to help people, support people, coach people, and help them understand what their strengths and weaknesses are and, at the same time, coach them through them,” she said. “I hope that one day that somebody I don’t actually know will benefit from something that I’ve done and some support that I’ve given them.”

Retirement is around the corner for Presley-King. She found her wings in aviation, and she still looks to the skies. Always fascinated by astronomy, a really nice telescope is probably in her future. She loves to look at the moon and constellations and appreciate the beauty all around us. Through many fascinating stops, she loves the book she has written, and she can’t wait to see what it is written in the stars.

“I would not change my journey in any way. Not one.”


“The Honor Role,” an official podcast for Fayette County Public Schools, features employees, rotating through key stakeholders, including teachers, staff, nurses, custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. Join us as we dive in and learn about their journeys, their inspirations, and their whys.

Episodes are available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and promoted on the social media channels of Fayette County Public Schools.

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Posted 2/27/2024