11/06/09 — Goldsboro High gets second principal

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Goldsboro High gets second principal

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 6, 2009 1:46 PM

Patricia Burden

John Twitty

Goldsboro High School will have two principals starting Monday.

Joining current chief administrator, Patricia Burden, will be John Twitty, who is principal at Wayne High School Academy.

Administrators call the "shared principal concept" a positive move for the school.

"Each of the principals will draw on their strengths and work collaboratively together to make decisions that best benefit students," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent. "Mr. Twitty will serve as principal for administration, and Ms. Burden will serve as principal for instruction.

"This administrative concept will allow Ms. Burden more flexibility to work with students and staff to help increase student achievement, while Mr. Twitty will handle other administrative matters such as working with the new graduation coach to increase graduation rates."

School officials today denied there had been any disciplinary action toward Ms. Burden prompting the administrative change.

"No, this is not something that's come out of anything like that," said Ken Derksen, public information officer. "It's just a way of enhancing school improvement efforts out of that school, especially in regard to student achievement and graduation rates. This is not a demotion. It's just a new shared principal concept, to basically help improve student achievement and graduation rates."

Goldsboro High School has long been a hot topic among elected officials and the community, as graduation rates and attendance have waned over the years.

Nearly three years ago, Judge Howard Manning threatened to close the school because of poor test scores. GHS was one of 19 schools in the state facing closure unless improvements were made.

Later, then-Gov. Mike Easley intervened, making it one of 66 high schools to receive resources, training and support from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction as part of his High School Turnaround Initiative.

Officials made several efforts in recent years to turn things around -- including America's Choice, a national school reform model introduced at the school in 2006.

The following year, the district opened Wayne School of Engineering, a school-within-a-school concept at GHS for students interested in science, math and technology. Also in 2007, Granville Academy was launched for freshmen, preparing students for the world of business and industry.

As graduation rates continued to decline -- the latest figure at 47 percent -- the district approved the hiring of a graduation coach, funded by Communities in Schools with assistance from the county and city.

Dr. Ed Wilson, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce's Wayne Education Network, said the change will be a beneficial move.

"The Wayne Education Network is aware of the many efforts going on at Goldsboro High, as well as at all of the public schools, to improve student learning and graduation rates," he said. "We feel this administrative change will be another positive step in further improving academic success at Goldsboro High."

Robert Yelverton, principal at Wayne Middle Academy, will assume Twitty's duties at Wayne High Academy, serving as principal for both middle and high school students enrolled at the school. The joint alternative school just opened this year in the former Goldsboro Intermediate School building, through the consolidation of former alternative schools Belfast and Southern academies, which were closed by the district.

Students at GHS were informed about the administrative change on Thursday afternoon.

"We are excited about this new approach and look forward to the new administrative team working together with Goldsboro High School students, parents and staff," Taylor said.