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School board approves new principals, district promotions


10 mug shotsThe Lenoir County Board of Education has approved the appointment of new principals at four schools and filled district-level positions designed to bolster support for teachers and students as LCPS prepares for a new academic year much more demanding than school was under the cloud of Covid-19.

Acting on the recommendations of Superintendent Brent Williams, the school board promoted three assistant principals to positions of school leadership – Jeremy Barnett, assistant principal at Kinston High School this past school year, to principal at Moss Hill Elementary School; Dr. Heather Lancaster, assistant principal at Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School, to principal at Southwood Elementary School; and Terry Wooten, assistant principal at Rochelle Middle School to principal there.

Steve Saint-Amand, who retired in June 2020 after leading South Lenoir High for 10 years, is coming out of retirement to become principal at Lenoir County Early College High School, filling the vacancy created by the retirement this month of Diane Heath.

The openings in 2021-2022 for new principals at Moss Hill, Southwood and Rochelle were occasioned by the district-level promotions, which – in addition to making up for retirements – anticipated the need to help classroom teachers get back into their rigorous instructional routine after the turbulence of the past year and to expand services to students rocked by the turmoil of Covid-dictated schedule changes and unfamiliar modes of learning.

Stacy Cauley, principal at Moss Hill since June 2016, is the new director of elementary education. The district’s Principal of the Year for 2019-2020, she worked two years as the district’s AIG coordinator and digital learning instructional specialist. A former teacher at Moss Hill and Northwest Elementary, Cauley also served as assistant principal and interim principal at La Grange Elementary. She started with LCPS in 2002.

Christel Carlyle, principal at Southwood Elementary for the past two years, is the new director of middle school education. An educator with nearly 20 years’ experience, Carlyle started with LCPS in 2007 as an English teacher at Kinston High School. She has since held positions in the district as principal intern and interim principal at Banks Elementary, curriculum specialist at Kinston High and assistant principal there.

Andre Whitfield, who became principal of Rochelle Middle School in July 2020 after leading Lenoir County Learning Academy for two years and Southeast Elementary School for two years, will take on the new district-level position of High School Graduation Success Officer, a role that combines support and mentorship and is geared to keeping students on track toward graduation.

In a move designed to more fully support beginning teachers – those with three or fewer years of experience – LCPS has expanded its Beginning Teacher Support program under the Human Resources Department.

Dunyil “Lynn” Morris, former assistant principal at North Lenoir High School, is stepping into the vacancy created by the retirement this month of Kim Hazelgrove as Beginning Teacher Coordinator. Morris began her teaching career in 1994 and has worked as a curriculum specialist in the district and beginning teacher coach for Teacher for America among other positions in education.

Aiding Morris in beginning teacher development will be Jennifer Sutton, named to the newly created position of Beginning Teacher Support Specialist. The district’s 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year, Sutton has spent 24 years in the classroom, split nearly equally between Northwest Elementary and La Grange Elementary, where she’s been a second-grade teacher for more than a decade.

Named as MTTS Coordinator is Sarah Stocks, who last school year was curriculum specialist at La Grange Elementary. She has 18 years’ experience as an educator and earned master’s degrees in teaching and in school administration from ECU in 2003 and 2021, respectively.

Effective date for the personnel changes is officially July 1, but the actually transition period will be specific to the appointee and the new position, particularly for new principals who have summer supervisory duties related to LCPS’s Summer Enrichment Academy.

As a group the four newly named principals bring nearly a century of experience in education to the leadership roles.

Dr. Lancaster came back to LCPS last year after serving as an instructor at East Carolina University and the University of Mount Olive and as a STEM teacher in Wayne County. She previously taught at Woodington Middle School for two years and began her career in the classroom in Duplin County in 2013. She holds a doctor of education in educational leadership degree from ECU as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees from ECU.

Barnett spent a dozen years at South Lenoir High School as a social studies teacher and administrator before moving to Kinston High last school year. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mount Oliver College and , in 2019, his master of school administration degree from ECU.

Wooten started with LCPS in 1988 as a special education teacher at J.H. Sampson Elementary, but worked as a educator in Ohio from 1996 to 2020, when she was hired as an assistant principal at Rochelle. She earned a bachelor’s degree from ECU, a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College in Detroit and her principal’s licensure from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Saint-Amand began his 28-year career in education at South Lenoir High as a social studies teacher in August 1992, just months after graduating from the University of North Carolina. After 16 years as a teacher who eventually became chair of South Lenoir’s Social Studies Department and two years as an assistant principal at North Duplin Junior/Senior High School, he returned to South Lenoir as the sixth principal in the school’s 70-year history. His 10-year tenure was the third longest on that list.

Also approved by the school board were assistant principal positions that fill vacancies created by other personnel changes.

Christy Eubanks, who was curriculum specialist at Banks Elementary School last year, will moved to the AP position at Contentnea-Savannah K-8. Amy White, a teacher at CSS, will be an AP at Kinston High. Chamekka Williams, a native of the area but an assistant principal in Johnson County last school year, comes home as an AP at North Lenoir High School.