06/28/11 — New Wayne County principal assignments announced

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New Wayne County principal assignments announced

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 28, 2011 1:46 PM

Eight county schools will have new principals in the fall, Goldsboro High School among them.

Three administrators actually retired at the conclusion of this school year, but when the dust settled and re-assignment were made in time for them to take over by July 1, it involved new leadership at the following schools -- Carver Elementary, Carver Heights Elementary, Goldsboro High, Meadow Lane Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Rosewood Middle, Spring Creek Elementary and Wayne Middle Academy.

Vacancies were initially created by this month's retiring principals Charlie Ivey from Spring Creek, Celia James from Meadow Lane and Mary Kay James from Rosewood Middle.

Perhaps the most anticipated announcement was whether administrative changes would be made at Goldsboro High School.

In recent years, the school has come under scrutiny for its lagging test scores and graduation rates, prompting intervention by the state and threats of closure by Superior Court Judge Howard Manning.

Two years ago the district hired a graduation coach, funded jointly by the city and county.

That same year, John Twitty, a 26-year military veteran, was transferred to GHS, initially sharing duties with then-principal Patricia Burden. This school year saw Ms. Burden being reassigned to Twitty's former post at Wayne High School Academy, leaving him as sole administrator at Goldsboro.

When it surfaced in May that a large portion of the senior class had not completed graduation projects, Twitty was reticent to provide any actual numbers or statistics.

District officials and Communities in Schools, meanwhile, rallied to bring in mentors and additional support for students.

With less than two weeks before graduation, Twitty announced all senior graduation projects had been completed, discounting earlier concerns, saying, "I don't think we were behind at all."

According to officials with Wayne County Public Schools, it was Twitty's decision to step down as administrator.

"He has requested the opportunity for professional growth as an assistant principal in the area of curriculum and instruction," Ken Derksen, public information officer with the district, said Monday.

Tonya Faison, lead teacher for career and technical education since 2009, was named his replacement.

She has 13 years in the field, including roles as assistant principal at Spring Creek Elementary and Norwayne Middle, and a business teacher at GHS.

She earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from N.C. A&T State University and a master's degree in school administration from East Carolina University.

Carver Elementary Principal Debbie Ogburn will move to Meadow Lane.

The veteran educator has 26 years of experience, serving at Carver since 2006. Prior to that, she was principal at Fremont STARS Elementary, assistant principal at Greenwood Middle and taught at Rosewood Elementary.

She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Kentucky Christian University and master's degrees in education and in school administration from East Carolina University.

The vacancy at Carver in Mount Olive will be filled by Lori Goodman, assistant principal at Goldsboro High School since 2007. She has 15 years experience in education, including being assistant principal at Dillard Middle and a curriculum facilitator and teacher at Grantham School.

Mrs. Goodman earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in school administration from East Carolina University.

The new principal at Rosewood Middle will be Kevin Smith, assistant principal at Spring Creek High since 2007. In his 17 years in education, Smith has taught at Charles B. Aycock High and Norwayne Middle schools.

His own education includes a bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a master's degree in school administration from ECU.

The Spring Creek Elementary vacancy will be filled by Gail Richards, a 30-year education veteran who has been principal at Northeast Elementary since 2003. She has previously been at Spring Creek Elementary, both as assistant principal and exceptional children's teacher. She also served as assistant principal at Greenwood Middle and taught at schools in Lenoir County.

Mrs. Richards obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in special education and a graduate certificate in school administration from ECU.

Taking over at Northeast will be Robert Yelverton, a 17-year educator who started his career as a principal in 2008 at Southern Academy. Following the merger of Belfast and Southern academies in 2009, he was named a principal at the new Wayne Middle Academy.

He also has experience as an assistant principal at Northeast as well as Goldsboro, Rosewood and Dillard middle schools. He has taught at Goldsboro middle and high schools and Mount Olive Middle.

Yelverton earned a bachelor's degree in design tech from Norfolk University and a teacher's certification in middle grades math and a master's degree in school administration from ECU.

Carver Heights Elementary principal Carole Battle will replace Yelverton at Wayne Middle Academy.

She has been at her current position since 2007 and altogether has 42 years in education. Her career began in 1969 as a social studies teacher in Martin County Schools. She came to WCPS the following year, teaching at Greenwood and Rosewood middle schools and Charles B. Aycock High. She also served as the district's instructional coordinator for social studies for seven years and in 1985 moved into an administrative role, spending 13 years as assistant principal at Eastern Wayne High. She was named principal at Belfast Academy, retiring in 2000 and then returning several times to assist the district with administrative vacancies, coming out of retirement in 2007.

Ms. Battle holds a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Fayetteville State University and a master's degree in school administration from ECU.

Taking the reins at Carver Heights will be William Vann, assistant principal at GHS since 2006. Vann, in education for 10 years, has a bachelor's degree in education, a K-12 certification in special education and a master's degree in school administration from Fayetteville State University, where he is also in the process of completing his doctorate degree in school administration.

Prior to becoming an administrator, he was an exceptional children's teacher at Brogden Middle.

Much coordination and planning went into this year's administrative assignments, said Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent. In addition to making decisions to allow time to transition before the new school year begins, consideration was given to have the right fit for students, staff and parents, he noted.

"All of these employees have proven that they have the character, the educational backgrounds and the needed leadership skills to effectively manage our schools," he said. "We look forward to welcoming all of them into their new positions."

Assistant principal assignments will be determined in early July, officials added. Those positions will take effect Aug. 17.

Assignments will be officially approved by the Board of Education at its upcoming July 11 meeting.