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Some Teachers Unhappy With Ashley High School


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)-- As a student at Ashley High School, Eason Saffo has concerns.

“I don't think they're being treated fairly by the administration,” Saffo said. They are teachers and he took his concerns to the school board Tuesday.

Apparently teachers are concerned too.

The numbers for teacher satisfaction at Ashley High School are so low parents are calling them downright startling.

“It definitely needs to be looked into and the board needs to look into it,” said Mark Hicks, parent of an Ashley High student.

Teachers across New Hanover County were surveyed and the results of the 2014 teacher satisfaction survey were presented to the school board tonight.

The numbers for the county as a whole paint a much different picture than at Ashley High School alone.

In categories like facilities and resources, managing student conduct, and school leadership Ashley High School scoring below 30 percent in the amount of teachers who agree these things are up to par.

Parents are outraged.

“Lord knows this county this state this country needs strong leadership, and without good leaders in school and good leaders going all the way up to the superintendent’s office, we're in trouble,” said Hicks.

Ashley highs principal was on hand tonight. It's his first year on the job.

“I’m sure he can improve and hopefully he will,” Hicks said of Principal Jackson Norvell.

Norvell refused to speak with us. The New Hanover County Schools Superintendent adding the principal didn't have to talk to anyone about anything.

When asked about the principals plans to address parent’s concerns about Ashley High School Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley said parents could talk to the principal one on one.

Parents we talked to said they've tried to do that but got no response.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Employee Protection

It is incredibly sad that public schools and employees paid by taxpayers have such low standards. In all other jobs the rest employee-employers relationship is respected. Fairness and laws govern. A boss who manipulates and sabotages his employees evaluations - looses his job! A boss who harasses and intimates his employees - looses his job! Why are our expectations and policies for our school administrates so much lower than the rest of the workplace. It is a slap in the face to all taxpayers - the board is responsible and we are looking to you for protection of our staff, students, and our resources against lawsuits. Ashley's principal can't remain.


I am a little late to comment but here goes. I watched all year as this man tried to scare teachers through placing letters in their files and various other threats. Most of the year he looked like a drowning man in over his head flailing trying to keep his head above water.

Our school is an incredible place to teach. But this year watching the way this man treated any teacher who dared to speak to them as though they were professionals, I became more and more concerned.

The thing that put it over the line was how he bullied his female staff members. I know of several who had never had one disciplinary action in their career leave his office in tears. It is not surprising that he finds a way to ship off strong willed teachers he cannot intimidate. I would never stand for my wife to work for this man.

It's amazing to see people in the central office protect this absolute failure of a leader.

The survey makes clear that he is an absolute failure as a leader.

I hope the board will do the right thing.

Can't we have good schools all around?

I hate to see this as a one school's teachers versus another, whose got it he worst. Shouldn't we be aiming to have good leadership at every school so that teachers at each school are able to do and focus on their job? If we have a situation where a principal is thwarting educational goals and not enforcing rules fairly, than wherever the school, we as taxpayers and our kids, our future deserve better.

Just looked at the actual survey

Survey question

There is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect at your school


Not good

Looked at most of the other schools in the district and could find anything close

Something is wrong in that building.

Jackson Norvell needs to go

I can't watch this man ruin our school. The board and the superintendent need to cut their losses. This man has no morals or ethics when it comes to his job. His only leadership style is fear and intimidation. This will continue to destroy the morale at Ashley. Please give the families of Ashley high a respectful and honest leader!

This is crazy and not true.

I've known Jackson Norvell and worked for him. These allegations are ridiculous. Best boss I've ever had hands down. Maybe some of these so-called teachers should take a closer look in the mirror instead of placing blame on someone for their failures.

Make your voice heard

The things I hear that have been happening at Ashley can't stand. Too good of teachers. Too good of students. Too good of a community. Let your school board members know how you feel about what Jackson Norvell is doing to this school.

Finn wasn't fired.. He took a much better offer

I have taught at Hanover for over 15yrs. You guys at Ashley are able to live in a bubble, we wish we could.
I have heard you guys have list 23 teachers over this year. That's a true problem. But since Finn left we have lost over 30 and a few hundred students. And by the way we already had 18 fewer faculty than Ashley. And we have 300 to 400 less students. So if you guys want to help out the children of this county. Transfer to New Hanover we would love the help! But I promise you this. Your time at Ashley would seem like a vacation! This I know.

Principal James McAdams

You may get your wish. You may have an influx of Ashley teachers requesting a transfer to New Hanover for the honor and pleasure of working under Mr. McAdams again.

Eason, don't listen to the haters

Eason you best bet is to just stay off this. I know it's hard to bite your tongue sometimes. When it's the hardest thing to do, it's probably the best thing to do. Especially with politics and that's all this is.

If some RANDOM person, who can't even attach their name to a post, wants to say something. Just ignore them. At the end of the day, they mean nothing to you. When they are man enough to say it to your face, then worry about it. Until then, it's just someone hiding behind computer muscles.
Keep putting in the work, on and off the court. That's what matters the most. Not some random "sheriff" patrolling a web site.


Anyone who criticizes a

Anyone who criticizes a student who is advocating for a teacher that encouraged him or her should be ashamed of themselves. Eason Saffo's parents should be proud of the young man that they are raising. Eason has more courage than most adults have, good for you Eason for standing up for what you believe in! There have been comments made recently that any teacher worth having at Ashley is either voluntarily leaving (due to bullying by admin)or being pushed out by the weak administration that clearly is threatened by teachers that offer any type of suggestions towards improving the school. What a mess we're in at Ashley!! We need to bring in an "outsider" to be in charge at Ashley,not a Laney Grad who has connections all over town who are going to help him sweep his poor decisions under the carpet. It's a very unsettling feeling sending my kids to a school that is under this type of leadership!!

Jackson Norvell

Finally Jackson Norvell is getting the recognition he deserves. A poor leader who does not deserve to lead a high school (or a middle school or elementary school). Consistently poor decisions. And it shows. From teacher dissatisfaction to unhappy students to improper releasing of teachers and coaches to the lack of advocacy for various students and the girls basketball team. Norvell consistently talks about advocating for kids, this is exactly what he does not do. He is more about finding ways to say "I got cha" rather than looking for a way to find positive solutions. He is power hungry just like another administrator in the NHC Central Administration. Thank God our School Board is finally seeing the true colors reflected by the failing Ashley Leadership. Simply put, the scores revealed on this report card says it all. It's time for positive change and Norvell not capable of delivering it.

Ashley's rise and fall

When Ashley High School opened 15 years ago the naysayers predicted that the school would always lag behind the other three high schools in athletics and academics. The teachers, students, coaches, and support staff worked together long and hard to bring Ashley's reputation to the top. Departments worked closely with each other and support staff to make sure each student's individual needs were met so he or she had the best chance for success. Success came from team effort. Staff and students were able to do this while the principalship of the school changed 5 times. The most stable and dependable principals were Mr. James McAdams and Dr. Kenneth Bowen. The school really shined during those 6 1/2 years. Ashley was proud. Everyone was happy. The pay situation was distressing, but teachers were not leaving at an alarming rate. During the 2013-2014 school year 25+ teachers have left Ashley for various reasons. Many more are actively seeking employment elsewhere. Teachers are now afraid to talk to one another. Students suffer no consequences for blatantly defying county and school policies. When one goes to the doctor, dentist, grocery store,..., in the southern part of the county, they are often asked, "What in the world is happening at Ashley?" It would be interesting to see the testing results over the last five years compared side by side. Many mourn the demise of Ashley High School.

Other Schools besides Ashley

I think there are some other schools that they should look at besides Ashley. Like Wrightsboro School had 21 teachers leave this year! This is not the first year this has occurred. Maybe there Principal should also answer questions.

AHS teachers are scared

It's a sad day when hard-working, dedicated, intelligent educators are scared to publicly speak about their needs and the way they are being treated. Well, the working conditions survey said it, but administration won't give it credit until 3-4 years of the same results. Pathetic. Norvell made it clear by administratively moving one of our best math teachers that if you speak the truth, you will be punished, you will be removed. And to those who belittle us for complaining about our "cakewalk" school and tell us to go teach elsewhere if we're so unhappy: we actually LOVE our school, it's students, and being a part of this community. We just can't stand that one man and his ego has begun to ruin it for us and the students. I am so proud that one young man had the courage to publicly stand up for us. Frankly it may be the only way things get changed. You know why they allow only one-on-one meetings? Because then they (Norvell and Markley) can keep us isolated. They and the Board ignored the collective voice (the survey) so that they can continue to justify their bad decisions and point the finger elsewhere. SPEAK OUT! Don't let them silence you.

I've got no dog in this fight, but

I've got know dog in this fight, but have enjoyed reading the lively discussion over my lunch break. I am a bit shocked by the angry toward teachers who have, as widely publicized been suffering a salary freeze for years. I don't know these principals, but with numbers like those, in the business world, we would not out up with bosses like that. Sorry, we do in education.

Thank you to the student

As a teacher I am extremely grateful to the student that spoke up. Apparently he was only stating what a great teacher he had in geometry and didn't want to lose him.
What courage that must take.

I think students standing up for a great teacher is incredible. Especially when "adults" are as dishonest as the principal at Ashley.

Can't believe how sad you are to attack the kids right to speak. Thank god you're not teaching out kids telling them how irrelevant their opinions are.

The real issue is a school run by an incompetent leader. It's amaIng that 80% of the teachers are wrong and not the first year principal. Who knows better what goes on in a school than the students and teachers.

Stand up students

Perhaps we should be paying the students instead of the teachers?

Perhaps when the employees stop taking career advice from kids, then, maybe, just maybe, their performance would improve?

If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I read they are building a muslim mosque downtown, in the ghetto. Go to church.


Why are "students" or kids allowed to have comments about a TEACHER survey and or even allowed to express an opinion about teachers or their workplace conditions at a school board meeting of ADULTS?

Why are Eason Saffos comments even relevant, considering his lack of real world and real life experience?

More importantly, the teachers, the parents and the students should be thankful that Ashley high school is where it is at and not in some inner city ghetto.

Bunch of over paid under worked school room sissy cry babies.


If you are really the sheriff we are all in trouble.


These nice people in this forum are trying to have an intelligent debate on the serious issues raised at recent School Board meetings relating to Ashley High School, and you come in here spewing that nonsense to deflect from the real issues and get everyone riled up and off-topic? Please take your ball and go home "sheriff."

Why are "Students" or kids allowed to comment...?

First, why are you putting students in quotes? And BECAUSE WE LIVE IN AMERICA !! We have the 1st amendment! And by "we" I mean the students of the world have it according to the court case Tinker v. Desmoines that my "cry baby" social studies teacher taught me. I would hope The Sheriff, a job charged with enforcing the law, would know this ! Or maybe your "cry baby" teachers were not as good as mine are at Ashley!

Tinker Bell

Tinker Vs blah blah blah...

Move out of your parents house and pay your bills with out asking them for a loan till payday.

Then you can come back and join the adults in coversation.

Hey A_ _hole !

Have you gotten a raise in the past 7 years ? Have you gotten your annual progression for experience over the past 7 years? Because we have not! And I am still busting it trying to educate and raise your kids ! Although, attitudes like yours make teachers everywhere question why we do it. And before you say "June, July, and August", let me remind you that we work half of June and half of August and only get for the paid 10 months. Idiot !

Over paid under worked Teacher

World needs plenty of bartenders.

Don't like your job?



Are you an idiot? The teachers take the survey. It is about the school leadership and is the way the state of NC DPI give feedback to the school systems. It is public for EVERYONE in the state to see and for any and all to comment. I think that the kids probably know really well what really goes on in the schools, they certainly know what teachers make them work hard. Which is what this kid seems to want to do? Unlike my boys, god bless 'em! And why do IOU and that other post keep saying the teachers should stop whining and be glad they don't work in a ghetto. What? First, it's a survey to get info, you think they should lie? And, are you saying that at any good school should the teachers and staff should stop working on improving, until our school is in a state where it can't be fixed, which you seem to equate to all inner city schools. You are not The Sheriff, Upu Are The Jerk!


I know that myself and other teachers have been sent a message. Get on the blacklist with Norvell and you're gone. I don't want to be next but something has to be done. If you know a teacher at Ashley call and ask then about them about the way he bullies his workers. These teachers are not crybabies. Look at the survey. The numbers have dropped 50% under this man!

Then look compared to the county. You really want to say that these dedicated educators aren't sending a message that they can't send in any other forum.

Basic Math WWAY

Read your own article. 30 percent say things are OK. 70 percent then say things are NOT OK. Looks more like only SOME want to stay there. This is big and you can't get any comment from the principal on whose watch this free fall happened? Poor job WWAY and New Hanover schools! And really poor job Ashley principal Norvel.


Agreed! What is up with that?

E looking good

E looking good - hadn't missed a practice yet. Hes good