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New principals named for three elementary schools

The new school year will find new principals at three LCPS elementary schools after the Lenoir County Board of Education approved personnel recommendations by Superintendent Brent Williams on Monday night.

Dr. Heather Lancaster, principal at Southwood Elementary School for the past two years, is moving to Banks Elementary School. Wendy Piro, assistant principal at Woodington Middle School since April 2020, is the new school leader at Southwood. Chamekka Williams, an assistant principal at North Lenoir High School since 2021, is the new principal at Southeast Elementary School.

Dr. Lancaster fills the position created by the retirement of long-time LCPS educator Jan Tucker. Williams moves into a job opened up by the resignation of Rashida Yellock, who will continue as an educator in Greene County, where she lives and previously taught.

These appointments, along with the naming of four new assistant principals, were effective Tuesday, July 11.

Superintendent Williams touted the qualifications of all the new appointees and praised their work with LCPS in earlier roles.

Chamekka Williams“Mrs. Williams has done a great job as one of the assistant principals of North Lenoir High School,” Williams said of the new Southeast Elementary principal. “She is an instructional leader and a strong manager. I am certain that she will do well as principal of Southeast.”

A native of Greene County, Williams taught English for several years at Greene Central High School before moving into administration. She served as an assistant principal in Johnston County before being named an AP at North Lenoir High.

Wendy PiroPrior to being named assistant principal at Woodington, Piro taught there and later served as a curriculum specialist at Southeast Elementary. She also worked as a teaching and learning coach for Wayne County Public Schools.

She completed her graduate studies in Educational Leadership at N.C. State University and completed her administrative internship at Banks Elementary.

“Both of her parents spent their entire careers teaching for LCPS before retiring and Mrs. Piro continues in that tradition, dedicated to educating our young people,” Williams said. “She is an excellent manager and strong leader and will use those skills to succeed at Southwood Elementary.” 

Heather LancasterLeaving Southwood was a tough decision for Dr. Lancaster, according to the superintendent, but she requested the move to Banks to be closer to her home and family in eastern Wayne County.

“She loves Southwood and says that she always will treasure her time as part of the Southwood Elementary School family,” Williams said.  “Under her leadership, Southwood has experienced strong academic gains and over the last year has posted student achievement gains in the highest range set by the state.”

Dr. Lancaster returned to LCPS in 2020 as an assistant principal at Contentnea-Savannah K-8 Schools 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.

The school board also approved appointments to assistant principal positions:

• at Kinston High School for Teedra Brown, a veteran math teacher at Rochelle Middle School.

• at South Lenoir High School for David Coombs, who served as a physical education teacher, athletic director and baseball coach at South Lenoir.

• at North Lenoir High School for Keiara Morris, who taught at Northeast Elementary and Rochelle Middle before serving as an assistant principal in Greene County.

• at Woodington Middle School for Kristen Davenport, who served as a science teacher and digital learning specialist at EB Frink Middle School before entering the two-year North Carolina Principal Fellows program, which she completed this past school year as an administrative intern at South Lenoir High.