Skip to Content

College of Education

Passion for advocacy inspires this Principal of the Year

Sabina Mosso-Taylor seeks to elevate her staff, faculty and students


Sabina Mosso-Taylor (2013 Ph.D., early childhood education) grew up with a love for dance and a passion for helping others. While she dreamed of being a dance therapist, she began her career in public health and danced to fuel her passion. Ultimately, her greater love of working with students with special needs led her to return to school to become an educator.

“My father lived with a disability his whole life, so the field of special education was near and dear to my heart,” says Mosso-Taylor. “I went into school for special education and elementary education. At the time I was still dancing, working and going to school.”

When her family made a move to South Carolina, Mosso-Taylor began teaching special education for preschoolers at the Anna Boyd Child Development Center. She started learning about inclusive practices and wanted to further her education in this area. She began her master’s degree in early childhood education at the University of South Carolina.

“I felt that I could combine my background in special education and love of early childhood learning,” says Mosso-Taylor. “This combination would broaden my understanding of all children’s needs.”

Mosso-Taylor felt especially empowered by Professor Susi Long’s language and literacy class. She knew that she would continue her education beyond a master’s degree and immediately entered a doctoral program.

“I loved every second of my doctoral education,” says Mosso-Taylor. “Professor Long still collaborates with me at my school and has been a huge influence in my career and my life. My education taught me to expand my thinking for my students’ possibilities and really consider how to work with our students in meaningful and culturally responsive ways.”

This philosophy has been effective, as Mosso-Taylor was named S.C. Elementary Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA). She sees this recognition as a way to elevate the work of her school’s educators and staff.

“As principal of Jackson Creek Elementary, my job is to lift  my faculty and staff,” says Mosso-Taylor. “I want to celebrate the work they are doing and enable their success. I cannot take any of the credit, I just provide the platform for my staff to do the work.”

Jackson Creek Elementary is a partnership school for the College of Education and is home to the college’s Urban Cohort. The Urban Cohort develops teacher leaders with expertise in early childhood (preK-third grade) curriculum, instruction and assessment through an in-depth focus on equity issues. Urban Cohort students have presented at national conferences and have received prestigious USC and Early Childhood Education program awards.

The school is also home to one of the only African Studies classes in the state, taught by a former South Carolina History Teacher of the Year and national finalist as well.

“My hope is that this recognition will bring like-minded educators to our school,” says Mosso-Taylor. “We believe that children are capable, brilliant and talented. We operate from a strength-based perspective. Our children come in with all kinds of knowledge. It may not be exactly what school knowledge looks like, so we must connect those dots. We have to make meaning for our students and meet them where they are.”

Mosso-Taylor shares that she has honestly never dreaded coming to work in her career. She also models these behaviors for future educators as an adjunct professor in the college. She shares her daily, professional experience as a former classroom educator and current administrator with future educators and hopes that they learn from her real-world perspective.

“I’m a hands-on, service-oriented principal,” says Mosso-Taylor. “I will do anything I can for my teachers or any staff member at my school. Every job here is important.”

Mosso-Taylor’s walkie-talkie beeps, and she’s called to fill in as a test proctor — her actions convey her beliefs.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.