Ashley HS principal responds to criticism from faculty

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Submitted: Wed, 07/09/2014 - 1:36am
Updated: Wed, 07/09/2014 - 5:24pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We’ve told you about issues concerning teacher’s satisfaction with the leadership at Ashley High School. Tonight the leader of that school is speaking out.

Jackson Norvell has been principal at Ashley for a little more than a year. He says that teachers who say he is vindictive and retaliatory are not telling the truth.

This afternoon he spoke with us. We asked him about the low teacher survey results, morale and teachers saying they don’t want to work at the school because of him.

“First of all, it is not the truth,” Norvell said. “Second of all, I was not aware of this perception until very recently. Now that I am aware, I’m going to do everything in my power to combat this misperception.”

According to a teacher satisfaction survey, 80 percent of Ashley’s teachers do not feel comfortable raising concerns.

“I consider this a great platform to implement changes and thats what I plan to do,” Norvell said. “I think there have been some difficult personnel changes that we’ve done, but again, everything that we’ve done and everything we will do is with the students in mind. We’ve done what’s in the best interest of students and will continue to do that.”

Norvell says changes have happened, but he would not go into detail about what those changes were.

School board members we spoke with today say though Ashley has seen measured success educationally, the success of a school as a whole starts at the top.

“The performance that happens at a school has everything to do with the building level leadership; the principal and the assistant principal,” school board member Tammy Covil said. “If they’re not doing a good job utilizing their teaches in the way that they should then absolutely we should look at moving those principals or replacing them.”

Based on the criticism, we asked Norvell if he is prepared to lead a 4A school like Ashley.

“Absolutely,” he said. “This is my first year, and it has not been without some challenges. I think philosophically I believe that we must do everything possible in the best interest of students. That’s what I have done, and that’s what I will continue to do.”


  • ms says:

    The question that keeps coming to mind for me…Why have there been so many principals at Ashley in the last 4 years??? As an educator, this is a red flag to me when a school cannot seem to keep an administrator. When someone new comes in, there is always going to be some hesitation on the part of the faculty. We teach our students to make decisions based on what is best, not what is popular. It is my hope that the Ashley High School community will do just that and not continue to take part in this witch hunt. It is easy to hide behind the computer. It is also easy to say how things should be done when we are not the one making the tough decisions. I know that we are all guilty of this. For the sake of all that are involved, please remember that Mr. Norvell is a person and not just someone to take jabs at on the internet.

  • Something Stinks and its not from the kitchen says:

    Let me get this straight, a couple of parents complain about a basketball coach at Ashley and he loses his job. 80% of the teachers have a problem with the principal at Ashley and he still has his job?
    When he was first hired he was described as a protege of Todd Finn, the embattled former Principal of NHHS. The same accusations about Finn are now being heard about Norvell. The School Board needs to take a look into the teacher accusations against this man like they looked into the basketball situation and do an investigation. His defense of “its a lie and not true” is the same defense the basketball coach used and he is gone. SO why is this principal still there?

  • DisGuestedly says:

    How are you measuring educational success Ms. Covil? If a part of it is graduation rate, you may want to look at this principal, and all your principals, as they sometimes pressure teachers to change grades to get a borderline student to pass. Not only that, some students are even pushed through by the principal without even consulting a teacher who has given a failing grade. So is this in “the best interest of the students”, Mr. Norvell, to shove a student out your doors who is woefully unprepared for the real world? But, hey, as long as your graduation rate looks good, you walk on water according to the school board.

  • Angry Taxpayer says:

    The title is “Ashley HS Principal Responds to Criticism from Faculty” but this is a taxpayer wanting to see fairness and quality in MY schools. I don’t even have kids yet, but those are my schools, they are OUR schools. My mom taught for 30 years and the thought of bullying and disrespecting teachers, after the days that they out in makes my sick. I guarantee that 90% of us could not make it a week doing their job!

  • One Monday morning I was waiting in the office with my child to talk to Mr. Locklear concerning my child’s online classes. I noticed three men went into the first office on the right. I couldn’t believe what was being said in that office. The “F” word was used several times, the conversation turned to one of them drinking shots at a downtown bar the weekend before…all of this going on while parents and students are waiting in the office. I told the parent volunteer I was in shock over what I was hearing. Her response was, “Oh this isn’t bad. It gets much worst than this”. After waiting at least 30 minutes the parents waiting, including me,were told we would need to come back there was no one to see us. After taking the time off work to address an important issue with my child it was clear the students were not a priority. When I left the men were sill in the office laughing.

  • Melissa Wagenseller says:

    I don’t have a child at Ashley, my son goes to New Hanover, but I do know Jackson and his family very well. This man has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known. His love and concern for the youth and their families at Wrightsville United Methodist Church is unparalleled (yes, in his ‘spare’ time he serves as the Director of Youth Ministries at WUMC, a group of around 80 kids). I worked with him as well during my tenure as the Director of Children’s Ministry for three years at WUMC. Bully? Arrogant? Not so much. Funny and smart is more like it. I don’t even recognize Jackson Norvell in the stories and comments I’ve seen here. Strong leaders make changes and don’t cow tow to every whimper. Good job TMZ, I mean WWAY. Keep stirring that pot!

    Melissa Wagenseller

  • Concerned parent says:

    The fact that this man is the leader of my child’s school keeps me awake at night!! He was all over the place in this interview. What a disgrace!!

  • Good Idea says:

    I saw a comment on another article that may get the attention of the county office and the school board and improve the situation for Mr Norvell. It is a shame he must work with students and staff who are liars. It suggested that parents of Ashley students go to the central office and demand that their children be allowed to transfer to another high school. If enough teachers also made the request, perhaps the administration and school board would have to take notice. The administration and school board should give these requests the same consideration and approval that they have given the current Ashley principal. If Ashley was nearly empty, perhaps survey results and attitudes would improve.

  • Reply says:

    While I appreciate your positive experience with this man, other people who have children at the school are also sharing their experiences with him as the Principal of Ashley, teachers are sharing their experiences, not all of them have the nice things to say about him that you did, are they, like he claims, lying? Anyone who says anything negative is lying, anyone who says anything positive is telling the truth?
    I am glad you have positive things to say about him, I am sure he is a great guy, I am sure he is dedicated to his religion and does wonderful things for the youth in his church….however, that does not mean he is a good principal. That does not mean he knows how to build morale with his staff or create a positive work environment. Maybe he would be a great principal at an elementary school like someone suggested, but he is not cutting it at the high school. I think he should be held to the same standard as the former Ashley basketball coach was held to….he was given one year and it didnt work out. Norvell has been given one year and it hasnt worked out.

  • TRUTH says:

    You are kidding right? So three random people you don’t know are having a conversation, and you feel like you need to slander another because maybe he was one of the people. That is ridiculous!

  • DisGuestedly says:

    Melissa you have not observed what I have first hand. He may portend to be a Christian, but he acts like nothing of the sort at Ashley. He gives Christians a bad name.

  • Inquiring mind says:

    Regarding “Something stinks…” – The basketball coach mentioned was also the AP Psychology teacher who was forced to teach without any textbooks for the kids. It was his first year at Ashley and I hear he was very involved and brought many students to be involved with the special needs kids. I also hear that over 70% of his kids passed the AP exam and the over 50% made 4s and 5s. Is it true?

  • Wow says:

    I wish I knew the Jackson Norvell you knew. This man is vindictive, and vengeful and thinks of himself in every decision.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    An Ashley teacher I know was once pressured by a parent and by Ashley’s Athletic Director to change a student’s grade so that he could play Lacrosse. She refused because she had told him repeatedly throughout the semester that if he did not pass the class, he would not play lacrosse in the Spring. At least 5 emails had gone back and forth about this matter with the Mother. When the Father again attempted intimidation saying he had seen no emails and the Athletic Director pressed his case, once again this teacher still refused. She felt that the student had made his choice. After a third contact informing her how upset the Father was, the teacher said simply, “I will write a letter to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association myself explaining the situation, sending copies of my e-mail correspondence with the Mother, and let them make the final decision.” She was told that there was certainly no reason to do that, and the teacher never heard from the student’s father or the Athletic Director again.

  • AnonAshleyTeacher says:

    You asked why Ashley has had so many administrators in the last 4 years, and while I am sure your none to subtle jab was meant as an indictment of the staff there, I will explain why we have had so many administrators. Simply put– central office. Our last two administrators left for personal reasons that I respect both of them too much to put up on a public forum, but were pushed by the ‘good ‘ol boys’ at central office and I am sure that they are playing a role in this as well. I understand that Jackson Norvell is a person, and I understand this because I know him. I work for him and I have been bullied and intimidated by him when I refused to do things that I thought were unethical and wrong. The school board and central office has made their side clear in this by supporting his suggestions to terminate contracts and forcibly transfer teachers who spoke out against him. He says that he is for the best of the students, but further depleting the math department, by transferring the best Math II/ Geometry teacher (based on data) to a middle school because that teacher dared to question him is not what is best for the students or anyone but him. He has pushed out several amazing educators and I, as a parent will be transferring my child. Ashley is no longer the wonderful, interactive environment that I used to loving working at, it is a place where we all have to watch for a knife in our backs now. With Markley on the way out, I can only pray Norvell will follow and we can scrape some of what we created over the 11 years before him. But what does my voice count–I work there, so I am a liar, just like the other 100 staff members who filled out the survey and the students and parents who have made their feelings about this administration clear. We are all liars and he is only fighting for our kids. The people I feel most sorry for are Stephanie Cole and Glenn Locklear, our APs who are good people and who are good at their jobs. I really do not want this mess to blow back on them because they are trying to keep us afloat.

  • Try and understand says:

    You don’t understand, teachers had/ have no say in the principals. We would have been done with any of the past principals just to have some consistency but the school system has used us as a stepping stone to maneuver people through. This time it was just too much – too much turnover and a real need for a leader and we got someone just too inexperienced.

  • Call It Like I See It says:

    Several posts refer to the former Basketball coach and extending he same situations and measures to Mr. Norvell – using the same standard, telling the truth, given just a year, etc. It is pretty clear isn’t it that Norvell removed him to put in his own guy that he brought in from NH. Norvell, when he got the Ashley job, expressed regret when told the men’s basketball position had already been filled prior to his arrival. And it is not at all uncommon that principals want to fill some key coaching positions with “their” people. What is uncommon is removing a successful coach. What is uncommon is removing a coach with slander and lies, instead of just replacing them. Principals don’t need good reasons to remove a coach. Principals don’t need any reasons to remove a coach. A principal with more experience and credibility would know that instead of trumping up a bogus case against the man.

  • Trying to Understand says:

    I’m sure Jackson Norvell is a nice man. And I’m glad he can schedule to spend so much time and make such a commitment to his church, but that is not enough, just to want to do well. He had no prior principal experience and I’m sure the stress of being overwhelmed for to him sometimes. It could happen to anyone. He can be a good guy and not be successful.

  • The Truth says:

    It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE ! His scores rocked !

  • Ashley Teacher says:

    If something stinks, it’s not the scores, and those results are with Rutledge’s WHOLE CLASS taking it.
    It was his first year and he’ll learn to play the game like the rest of us and discourage the kids who you know will not pass. He encouraged all his kids to take the exam, even the kids who were struggling – rookie mistake.
    Those numbers can’t really be compared to the national averages, which he beat, since no ones tests all kids like he did.

  • TRUTH says:

    You mean the one who bragged he was going to get the principal fired and threatened him? Yeah I think I heard about it. Please use your whole brain people. People don’t get moved because of nothing, or they would be speaking to the board. I bet you won’t see your beloved teacher on the board agenda, because he knows the whole truth, do you?

  • Caroline MJ says:

    Norvell says doing “what is in the best interest of students” – really now! So, the stud upper level honors math teacher is moved to a middle school so high school kids miss out and middle schools don’t offer the classes of his expertise. How is this best for students?
    AP Psych teacher scores are great, he had top civics scores, and a law degree and Norvell has shipped him off to be an elementary PE teacher (my son just texted me from AAU practice). Really now! How is this possibly in the best interest of students ?

  • Ashley parent says:

    If those scores are right he should be teaching AP psych. I was against him coach because my husband and I did not like his coaching style, but we need good teachers, and if our son earns college credit by taking his class, that help get him into college and hen saves us money while he is there. Sign is up!

  • I was optimistic when Mr. Norvell started working at AHS. He talks a good talk when you meet him, but I work there and have witnessed him: speaking condescendingly to teachers; criticizing teachers for personal issues that occurred years ago which have nothing to do with their effectiveness in the classroom; discussing professional concerns between a teacher and himself with a fellow teacher or office assistant “witnessing” it in his office when it should have been a professional, private one-on-one discussion; allowing his favorites (teachers) to hang out in his office when parents are waiting to see him; and more. He often closes his door and is unaccessible. There are times when all Assistant Principals are in his office during the school day for extended periods with the door closed, and thus no administrators are available at all. Administration meetings need to be held before or after school, not during the school day. Those who know the nice, church-going man do not know the tyrant he can be in the school building. Some people have asked why teachers aren’t asking for transfers out of the building. I, for one, did request a transfer for the first time in my 20+ year career. Teachers are educated and licensed to teach. Even though they “can” move into industry for jobs based on their knowledge, they are in the career because of a respect for the profession and a love of working with young people. Teachers don’t have “jobs”, they have careers. Though a few teachers might leave Ashley High School (and a few from AHS DID leave at the end of the year), there are not enough openings in other local schools for everyone to transfer elsewhere. These are people who have made Wilmington their home. Our teachers have children of their own in New Hanover schools. It’s not just a matter of finding a job somewhere else and moving on. Please notice that, overall, the only positive comments are from people who do not work at AHS. Those who have experienced the bullying, condescending comments, and rudeness are asking for change. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a lawsuit filed for sexual harassment due to his flagrant disrespect to multiple women in the building — something that was observed and pointed out to me by a male teacher. These aren’t whining teachers. This is nearly 80% of the staff. And when you look at the numbers on the report, keep in mind that IF there are teachers who like him, their high marks are also averaged into the <20% approval ratings for leadership. Just how low would it have been if you took any potential high marks out? Teachers can be dismissed after a year due to poor performance. Without tenure, a teacher can be dismissed without a reason. Why is the standard for an administrator any different? There is MUCH call for change. 80% of the staff are not liars. This man is a smooth talker, but he is a poor principal and not a nice man to work for.

  • Regrets - Ashley Student says:

    Yes, I think that has to be right, so many of us did really well on the AP test. I actually made a 5 which earns credit everywhere- yeah!! I regret that in the many questions I answered to Mr. Norvell, I said that I didn’t feel ready and well prepare for the exam. That was obviously wrong, since I didn’t do that well on my other AP tests. I regret that comment. I was really well prepared. Coach Rutledge, I’m sorry. Thanks for the class and pushing me to work hard.

  • unknown says:

    I could not agree more. I could not imagine starting a new position and being blamed for all of these problems. The fact is a job is a job and if it were fun all of the time it would not be work. YOU simply can not make everyone happy and in order to be a part of the solution you have to do your part in fixing the problems.

  • Yes says:

    Yes, his testing results were excellent. His mistake with the basketball team was expecting players to attend practice if they intended to play games. He was following the North Carolina High School Athletic Association guidelines. Go figure.

  • Disappointed says:

    Unfortunately, your experience is way too common to our front office. Unless you threaten to call the board you don’t get much attention.

  • I don't get it. says:

    So he has top scores while artificially handicapping his scores by having ALL kids take it. That’s a good thing. In fact that is great. Why is he not going to teach it again?

  • TRUTH says:

    A Nonashleyteacher huh???? You sound like a real professional. I’m sure you have documentation where you met with Mr. Norvell to work on the issues right? Be sure to share that with central office when you file your grievance.

  • CMJ says:

    And Norvell’s not retaliatory? Give me a break !

  • Ashley teacher 10+ years says:

    I agree. Could not have said it better! Exactly! We are in tough place.

  • Too logical for AHS says:

    Yes, following the NCHSAA guidelines and the AHS ones. As all of us know at the parent athletic meeting Roy Turner runs through the same things again and again. And one is the chain of command. Speak to the coach first, then the AD, and then the principal. Too bad Coach Rutledge did not know that rules and policies don’t count with these guys. Turner said that but what he meant was, that was the policy for coaches we are not trying to sabotage. To clear out Rutledge for Norvell’s guy, we call and and meet with parents behind coaches back and fill his personnel file with crap they knew were lies. Then fire him for not attending the meeting they had without him.
    There is no justice for the good guys that follow the rules Rutledge. Sorry.
    Norvell’s stacked the deck against people of character like you.

  • Wilson says:

    I must say he does not seem like a good leader for a school. When I read the report about the feedback from teachers, it seems there were a number of principals who did not score well. Why not focused on all of them? Why not focus on those appointed them? This seems to be larger issue than one principal.

  • Really? says:

    So the principal has meetings in his office with the assistant principals!!!! How dare him! He should have included you. If you really are an experienced teacher at Ashley, I’m sure you have documentation of you meeting with him to express your concerns. No? Anonymous post, like the anonymous survey is what you hide behind. I see so many of these posts are from teachers. That is so professional don’t you think? Am I the only one at all that can assume this is not the professional way to work on issues at work.

    The principal is being evaluated by an anonymous survey. Surveys come with codes that are given to one person. Are we certain that everyone got a chance to complete it without collusion before? I feel like you have a real problem with ethics and integrity at that school. Mr. Novell is taking the reins and teachers who have had all the control don’t like it. Open your eyes folks, Norvell isn’t the problem.

  • TRUTH says:

    He said it wasn’t true that he was vindictive and retaliatory. He acknowledged he missed it in other areas and will address it.. Please don’t exaggerate, it makes you look silly.

  • Astonished says:

    Mr. Norvell gives Christians a bad name? Did Pope Benedict XVI die and leave you with the power to excommunicate people? How can you call yourself a Christian by publicly trying to humiliate another innocent man? I don’t understand how it gets to this point other than WWAY is just looking to get a good story out of it.

  • DisGuestedly says:

    The office she described is Principal Norvill’s office. I’m sure it was just three random men using his office and cussing up a storm. I’ve heard said principal using the S word when talking to students, apparently trying to be their buddy. Sound right to you?

  • anonashleyteacher says:

    I am sure that you feel like you are helping your friend by attacking posters on this forum like a common internet troll, and I will give you credit, I haven’t seen you directly attack the students who have posted here like “the Sheriff” has, and for that I thank you, but I just wanted to offer you a few clarifications. I understand that you are a friend of Jackson Norvell and you feel like your friend is being attacked and you want to defend him, but you also need to take a moment to really look at the claims and understand the process before you blindly attack or defend.

    1. The survey is not carte blanche for the staff to attack anyone, it is an anonymous way for the state to monitor trends in successes and limitations and it is a way for teachers to safely offer feedback. The state sends a link to teachers and each employee is then given a unique code to log in with and answer about 16 page worth of questions ranging from feedback on building facilities, internet speed and, yes, administration. The entire thing then is then published and sent to administration of each school, typically it is then forward to the staff by the administration but this year, it was not. I am not going to say that that was completely Jackson’s doing because his secretary is awful. BTW they also compare numbers, so you can look at the last several years and see how much the numbers have dropped under this administration.

    2. There have been several grievances filed with central office about this administration, so please stop with then “I am sure you have documented the times you have met with him” business. Yes, I a have. Everyone has. We are intelligent professionals who understand due process and evidence. However, getting a meeting is extremely difficult because even if you have an appointment to discuss an issue, he is often late, forgets about it and leaves or has no idea why you are there. Every meeting quickly turns into an attack on the teacher even if you went there for clarification and you leave confused about how a question became a confrontation.

    3. Teachers, just like administrators, are contracted with the county. I work for New Hanover County, not Ashley High School, so it is extremely easy to move a teacher with no evidence of wrong doing. Often, the county will transfer teachers based on need, if Ashley has two too many history teachers, but Laney and New Hanover both need one, then the county will transfer them instead of hiring out. But here the system is being used to move a teacher out of a high need area because the principal doesn’t like him, and that is an abuse of power and the county further trying to sweep this situation under the rug. Furthermore, the math teacher in question, is a professional. He knows his rights and his limitations and is anything but a hot head. Coach Rutledge, is a professional, in fact he is a lawyer, and he knows his rights and did not threaten Jackson Norvell. I am sure we all know where you “heard” about these things, but that is simply not the “TRUTH”.
    4.BTW my handle is anonashleyteacher, just to clarify for you because it confused you, anon is a common internet abbreviation for anonymous, which was already taken on here. The reason so many of us are post anonymously is because we are scared of retribution from Jackson Norvell and the county. We love our school, we just want to be able to educate is the best environment we can. Jackson Norvell is not an awful person, I do not hate him or want him to fail, but he is woefully underprepared for this position. I blame the county for that, they hired someone with no experience to lead a school that is too big and too complex. What I blame him for is his reaction to a bad situation, instead of admitting that he needed help, he attacked people who tried to offer help. He trusted the wrong people and lashed out at everyone else. He is human, I get that, but he is also not a good leader and you need to get that.

  • "It was my first year..." says:

    In his own words, “It was my first year, it was not without some challenges.”

    Did he give the basketball coach another chance after his first year? Im sure the basketball season was not without some challenges, yet he did not give the coach another chance or another year. So why should he get another year? Why should he get another chance to make improvements when he did not give the same to the coach?

    His theme seems to be he does things in the best interest of the students. If this were true, he would see he has created an impossible situation and what would be in the best interest of the students, and the teachers, and the parents, would be for him to resign.

    That would be in the best interest of everyone involved, especially the students. He wont though. Because it really isnt about the students. Its about him.

  • Peter Crowther says:

    I agree with Melissa. I know Jackson and his family well and have been very impressed by his work ethic and enthusiasm for his new position. The amount of hours he spends at AHS is staggering — about 12 hours a day plus sports events on weekends.

    I don’t have any first hand knowledge of the situation at AHS, but it seems simple: a bunch of teacher’s union hacks are after him because of his demanding nature. Bottom line, he is the boss and I wish the teachers would stop whining so much — a bunch of internet trolls they are. Let them run the show and they’d have more money, less work, and no competence assessments.

  • Impressed with teachers says:

    Wow. Well spoken truths – except I saw no evidence of Norvell being a “smooth talker” in this video!

  • C Johnson says:

    You are totally clueless on this on and he over you wrote. You know nothing about the way DPI does the survey – it is complete tied to an individual number we are assigned and if you think we had the time or energy to collude in the survey you have never worked at a school. (On addition the length of survey would preclude that.) The format of the Department of Instruction’s data collecting has it been called into question by any school officials, local or state, you are just slinging mud because the numbers plummeted this year under Norvell and you want anyone over than him to talk responsibility.

  • Guest+124578 says:

    Here is how to solve this issue. 1. Move Norvell to another school as an AP to gain more experience so one day he may be successful. Put him with an effective principal so he can learn. 2. Post the position and interview candidates that have been successful administrators in their respective school. Look for someone who is a strong instructional leader, has multiple years in a high school setting as both a teacher and administrator, can advocate for teachers or students, etc. This person can be a current principal or assistant principal that has been successful. Also, the person should be from a surrounding district or local, not from another part of the state. 3. Involve teachers and the community in the interview process and seek their input. 4. Move fast because in the end everyone will lose if the constant barrage of negativity continues. This situation is wearing on everyone.

  • School board needs to act says:

    The New Hanover County Board of Education will meet for an Interim meeting on Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. in the NHC Board of Education Center, 1805 S. 13th Street.

  • Facts says:

    The point I was trying to make was…the men are employees of AHS, students and parents are sitting within hearing distance, no one is offering to help the students and parents and the office help acted as if this was normal behavior in the office. One of the men I saw walk into the office was Mr. Norvelle, another was Mr. Locklear. Why aren’t parents and students being helped? I should have put more details in my first post. I am just stating facts. I was there. I was not helped. I know what I heard. I am not saying Mr. Norvelle said the things but I do know the conversation continued with him in the office. This behavior is very unprofessional.

  • Bewildered Mom says:

    Let me see if I understand this… My son who in 3 AP classes never made a 1 out of 5, a 2 out of 5, and in AP Psych with Mr. Rutledge made a 4 earning him 2 credits for next year as a freshman – my son credits his only passing AP score totally on this Mr. Rutledge. He says he knows how to outline and study and work hard in college next year because of Mr. Rutledge. And this teacher is being moved out of teaching AP Psych at Ashley because the principal fired him as a coach to hire someone else and feels it would be uncomfortable for him.
    And, to add insult to injury, to appease the Ashley principal, the superintendant has not even reassigned Mr. Rutledge to another high school, but to an elementary school, and not to teach social studies, but to teach PE.

  • Completely impressed! says:

    That is really powerful, and again I am totally impressed with the message from an Ashley teacher and the eloquent way they expressed it. The slanderous and low-brow jabs at the teachers of Ashley (an teachers everywhere) are so small minded.
    There have been so many thoughtfully written post by AHS teacher that I suspected a lone writer, but in talking with a teacher friend I was told who many of the posts were and it was so many different people with the same sad story.
    Good luck.

  • Please try and understand says:

    Please try and understand that your experiences with Jackson Norvell are not ours. Over 80 teachers would not take concerns to him because of fear of punishment or reaction. We are not discounting your experiences with his teaching your son trumpet, we were not there. Likewise, you are not in our school living through the past school year. We respect your opinion and ask that you not disrespect your opinion.

  • Johnson says:

    ” I think philosophically I believe that we must do everything possible in the best interest of students…”
    Jackson Norvell

    I think philosophically I believe that we must do everything possible … to see you live up to that statement !
    Put back the teachers you had moved for your own personal agenda !
    Having the best teachers – that’s what is in the best interest of students !

    This is an easy one Mr. Norvell. Life up to your own words.
    (And don’t give us “it’s a personnel issue” – with these men, we know it’s your personal issues ! )

  • Carolynn Phillips says:

    In response to the Ashley High School teacher working conditions survey, I strongly disagree with the negative projection of head Principal Mr. Jackson Norvell. In my experience as a North Carolina public school teacher for the last 8 years, I cannot imagine blaming any one person for the state of distress all public school employees continue to face.

    I am employed in Brunswick County and took the teacher working conditions survey, as I do every year. I have learned some teachers feel the need to press heavy on the principal as the survey asks questions concerning overall happiness. It is my understanding that many teachers mistakenly communicate their statewide concerns on a forum focused solely on school wide or county wide concerns, leaving the survey unreliable with a great deal of room for error.

    In my opinion, Mr. Norvell has fallen victim to this unfortunate circumstance. It is unjust, a man of his character to take the blame for his teachers unhappiness in their current position. Mr. Norvell has displayed loyalty, helpfulness, dedication, and conviction in all of the years I have known him. He would never, under any circumstance, be “vengeful” for his own personal gain.

    Carolynn Phillips

  • TRUTH says:

    I don’t know that I think you are an experienced, good teacher. I am certain you have had meetings that you documented where you expressed your concerns to the administration. I don’t find it crazy that he meets with his administrative staff during the day. I bet you have never expressed your concerns, but hide behind an anonymous survey and long posts on boards like this. I would not call you a professional. I’m glad to see he has taken the reins over there and you guys don’t like it. You will have to fall in line or move along, just like the rest of the work force in the private sector, or any other good school for that matter.

  • TRUTH says:

    I’ve heard about a teacher who boasted he was going to get the principal fired and claims he told this to the principal himself. Is this the teacher? If so, what happens to you in your job if you tell your boss you are going to get him fired?

    Think about it? If there was no merit to the move, then your stud teacher can file a pretty little grievance and present it to the school board. Why don’t you look at the board agenda next time to see if it is there. I bet it is not, because if he did what has been said, being moved is a gift!

  • Mark Hicks says:

    Many of us parents are sending emails and talking to the board members about this situation. They have already met twice about this and they are very concerned. We need everyone, students and parents, to email the board members and request the immediate transfer of Jackson Norvell to an elementary school which he would be well suited for. He has no business being a principal at a 4A High School. The NHCS administration should never have recommended placing Norvell at Ashley in the first place, and the school board should never have approved this recommendation.

    Jackson Norvell has a very close relationship with Holliday, and with Markley, so it will be extremely hard to get him transfered or removed.
    There will have to be a lot of noise made to accomplish this. We need a lot of parents and students to show up and speak at the next board meeting to push for this.

  • The Sheriff says:

    The only thing that is wrong is the teachers thinking THEY run the show. Their job is to teach and educate. Mr Norvell’s job is administer policy and make sure the teachers are doing their job.

    If the teachers don’t like working conditions, they can always look for gainful employment elsewhere.

    Otherwise they need to shut their pie holes underneath their noses and go back to work and work.

    As a taxpayer, I expect to get the biggest bang for my buck and the only bucking that is going on is the teachers not doing their job and whining about Mr Norvell doing his.

    Thank you Mr. Norvell, keep up the good work. The weak ones will leave.

  • concern parent says:

    THIS also sounds like the tactic for most jobs, especially in this county. people that are put into these higher positions often take advantage of their position. sounds all to familiar from working at Cape Fear Community Hospital. Surly not only one child has attended AEHS I have always have had my doubts, Now someone has taken the step to expose one who seems that he is superior than others. Being Bullied on the job or in any matter is not a good feeling at all. Surly I hope that this can be resolve before school starts this year. Good Luck teachers I commend you for all the hard work that you do……

  • The Sheriff says:

    I am not sure what is more scary…

    The fact that WWAY had to post an editors note calming nerves and elminating confusion of morons who actually thought Sheriff McMahon would waste his time posting comments on a forum board of a local media website…

    Or the fact that morons actually thought Sheriff McMahon would waste his time posting comments on WWAY website forum.

    Scary…Really scary…

  • portcity says:

    I think you have it backwards. Teachers can teach without administration. There would be no administration without teachers. These teachers are the one teaching your kids. When is the last time this guy taught a class that excelled in the subject. My daughter is coming up to the age of going to school and she will be home schooled because of how ridiculous our public schools are. North Carolina’s high standard of education is lower than most states and some third world countries. Time to start looking at the administrators bosses that hire and keep people like him on campus.

  • Kevin Wuzzardo says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This comment has apparently caused some confusion among viewers who believed it was posted by New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon. It was not. Sheriff McMahon has no connection to this comment.

    Assistant News Director
    WWAY NewsChannel 3

  • Citizen of NC says:

    Exactly! I caught that, too. Very strange tense pauses and all over the map. Blaming teachers again, just a bad vibe all together.

  • Concerned citizen says:

    The problem is that he has no idea of how to be effective in his job, to inspire the educators he should be working with and not against, and to really help the students that he says he is there for. Now he is so far over his head he has no idea of how to dig himself out. So, let’s just put the blame on everyone else instead of where it belongs, with Jackson Norvell, because everyone else is just lying. And, I’m sure that if you are his friend, then you too can have a job at AHS as soon as Jackson wrongly pushes out another good teacher. I’m on to your power games Jackson Norvell. Most tyrants have used them in the past. You have learned well.

  • PublicHighSchoolTeacherInNC says:

    … that one should not assume they understand how another feels when they have not walked in that person’s shoes. To state that a group of adults who are all certified by the State of North Carolina to be educators, who are continuously evaluated, and whose performance is tracked and made public are “cry babies” and that they need to “chill out” is a poor solution to what seems to be a major problem for Ashley High School. I am a public school teacher in another district in another part of the state and having my own experiences that come from around 10 years in education, I feel that I am in a place to state that if one has not spent time working in a school or in a classroom, they can not reduce the feelings of 80% of a faculty to their just being “cry babies”. Teaching is one of the most honorable professions as we seek to shape young people who will eventually lead our country and take care of us! I do want to acknowledge that not every person always behaves honorably or honestly. However, the Teacher Working Conditions survey seeks to publicly provide results of a survey that has been analyzed to create a snapshot of what the conditions are within a school for the public who is not present within the building to experience them. Having taken a look at the results, I can say with great certainty that teachers are not happy–actually, can I be honest? I was blown away by the results–they make my heart break. While we are in a period of time that teacher moral is low, one should expect that each category score not be significantly below the state-wide comparison. Have you looked at the survey results? I invite you to: This school in question scored significantly lower than the rest of NC Public Schools in the area of “My school is a good school to both work and learn” by scoring approximately 30% points below.

    Just because someone is a good person or seeks to follow God does not mean that he or she is created for leadership in a large high school. I believe that God guides us as we follow a path to serve Him. I believe that we, as Christians, do the very best we can but ultimately, we will always fail which is why grace and the sacrifice of Christ is so important. If it is how it seems, for which I can not validate since I am not a teacher at Ashley High School, it may be that this position of leadership has been more “challenging” than Mr. Norvell can handle and perhaps there is a position that he is better suited for–I don’t sense that the faculty, parents or students of Ashley High School are trying to “destroy his career”. I think that what teachers want is just to work in a place where there is autonomy, communication, and a spirit of trust and mutual respect (according to the survey results). I hope that restoration can occur between this administrator and his faculty and staff; however, if it does not seem that it is possible, it may be in the best interest for both the faculty/staff and Mr. Norvell that he finds a position that he is better suited for. Ultimately, you may wonder, why are we discussing school moral and leadership issues? The reason we place such an importance on this is because if teachers aren’t happy, then students will not receive their teachers’ best–leadership defines how successful any school is. Ultimately, a good principal is one who takes responsibility both in the successes and the failures of their school. They also know that in order to improve a school, they will need to put the needs of the school in front of their own. It would end in failure if a principal ever treated a school of faculty/staff and students with a “do it my way or take the highway” attitude. While assessment results are stable for now, good teachers will not stick around if they feel mistreated. Ultimately, scores will begin to fall if unity cannot be restored–I mention this because test scores seem to be the argument as to why the school is doing okay.

    One more note, keep in mind who the stakeholders of a school are. A school’s stakeholders includes the students, parents, and community. A school should encourage parent input and if there is an issue with athletics, a good leader should manage that effectively always ensuring that there is a balance as public schools seek to help the whole student develop. I think that it is safe to say that we should not assume that the parents that are “way out of control” are only concerned over athletics–that isn’t giving the parents of our children much respect. As a teacher, I recognize that I can learn a lot about my students and how to better reach them by listening to parents. The students are why schools are built, students are why good teachers are sought out to fill the classrooms, and students are why administrators should be carefully selected as they work to steer this large group of people through trials and change to maintain an environment conducive to learning so that students are best served and best prepared for future successes.

    My final questions for you, Exrgriser, is if this nonsense “doesn’t fly in the real world”, would you name every person in our history that stood up for what they believed in a “cry baby”? If they were, then why would there be the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 that was amended in 2011 to protect those who a whistleblowers within the federal government and report agency misconduct. Obviously the President of the United States thought that the protection of those who brought light to what may be considered as wrongdoings was important because he further beefed up protection in the Presidential Policy Directive 19 in October 2012. My final question is in response to “why our schools lag behind the rest of the country”, have you seen this: or how about this: It seems that actually, our state is making great gains in achievement in light of our state ranking 46th in teacher pay and we are above national average in the education our students receive. I wonder if the reason we are being paid so poorly yet making great academic gains and provide above average education speaks more to the level of importance that government leaders have been placing on budgetary spending in education rather than teachers’ intrinsic desire to serve our students and schools? Thank goodness for what is going on in Raleigh right now…it seems that compensating our amazing teachers (that Texas and Virginia seek to recruit) is a hot topic:

  • Teacher, or your favorite whipping boy says:

    I’m not sure if it was the same poster who in 3 posts has call teachers “cry babies”, but I’m tired of it. In a state where teachers can not strike, continue to work year after year without our annual step or raise, stay committed as the number of kids in our classes grow, and spend our paycheck on school supplies as school budgets shrink.
    Where is the crying?
    As more and more parents and families are struggling in so many ways, it’s teachers who are on the front line to pick up the slack taking care of the communities’ kids. Do you ever hear teachers turning away kids? These are not “cry babies”.

    Mid-spring we get an email from tell us to do a survey on our schools, facilities, administration, central office – as each teacher in the state of NC does. We honestly take the lengthy survey to provide the requested feedback and the range of topics. This is part of our job, we do it, and you call us “cry babies” for completing it.

    Teaching is tough physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Most people could not do it. Stop attacking us just because you blindly want to support Mr. Norvell.

    We wish the results were better, we wish we had had a good year, we wish we could talk to the man, it just not the truth.
    Stop the name-calling.

  • Bully? says:

    Exgriser, you accuse those who oppose Mr Norvell as being bullies. Your experiences with him have been good. Teachers who work for him, parents who have students in the school, students themselves have shared their negative experiences with him. Yet you come to the conclusion that they are just crybabies. Maybe they have legitimate reasons to feel the way they feel. Who are you to judge them and their experiences? Who are you to call them crybabies? Teachers feel HE is the bully. If you read the entire thread of comments, there is a wide variety of complaints about his leadership as a principal. They are not complaining about him as a person or a church going member of the community, they are not judging him as a father, they are expressing their concerns, just like you did with your post. You disagree with them. That doesnt mean you are right and they are wrong. They cannot say your experiences with him are wrong or not true. So who are you to judge their experiences with him? Who are you to call them crybabies? Isnt that a form of bullying as well? Calling people names?
    You contend the problem is with the teachers, parents and students and if they dont like it they should just leave. Maybe he should. You mention “real world” like working in a high school isnt the real world. So you dont think teachers are in or work in the real world? Then you would also have to conclude Mr Norvell doesnt work in the real world either.

  • Exrgriser says:

    I have heard and read enough from the cry babies at Ashley. Jackson Norvell is a decent man who has always put the interests of students foremost. We met him before he was teaching as a trumpet instructor at the Wilmington Academy of Music. He was wonderful. We later ran into him again at RGMS as a band teacher. He is a very decent man who has a wonderful family and does a lot of great things with the youth of his church. He’s a wonderful father and family man who is a strong disciplinarian who handled lots of Roland Grises problem children while he was there. Ashley High School needs to support him and stop their bullying tactics. The parents are way out of control at this school and all one has to do is look at their athletic programs to see the problem. He can do some great things at Ashley if the cry babies chill out. This nonsense would never fly anywhere else in the real world. Let the man do his job, if you are not happy leave and let Jackson straighten this high school out and bring it up to speed with the others. Grow up people. Your antics would never be tolerated anywhere else nor would you be given the forum to voice them anywhere else. Try taking your bullying tactics into the real world and yes, that’s exactly what they are. You are trying to destroy this man’s career all because you can’t handle change. No wonder our schools lag behind the rest of the country!

  • Sam Walker says:

    Jackson Norvell is an idiot and has done way too much bad to have ever been a decent person.

    He should be looked into by an ethics panel. He should never be in the position as principal A janitor is more fitting!

    The school board should look into his actions a little deeper!

    Oh and by the way he a JERK too!

  • Wanting some response ! says:

    True – anybody getting any responses ?

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Will anyone attend besides favorites? Will anyone be brave enough to speak up? It has been made rather obvious what happens to those who do.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ashley HS Staff will be meeting 7/28 per Norvell: We are planning a summer workshop to receive teacher input on procedures and practices for the upcoming school year. This will be an interactive forum. The workshop will be facilitated by School Improvement Team members. Assistant Superintendent Dr. LaChawn Smith will present.

  • Upset citizen says:

    It’s been 2 weeks since this article-Why No Update, No Follow-Up.
    We’re concerned about this and why haven’t we heard anything else.
    Why are we still here and waiting for a rational or some action.

  • Parent of Ashley Student says:

    Not much publicly being done, but many of us parents and some staff are setting up meetings with Superintendent, Markley. If you have concerns or want to give your 2 cents call and meet. They are scheduling them now.

  • Beach bun says:

    Why is there no response from the Board?
    These are elected officials. They represent us. How can they ignore clear and legitimate concerns?
    Since the issues with Markley’s high compensation for the woman he was having an affair with, to a principal acting like an unhappy dictator, where is anyone representing our interests ?

  • Wildcat Eagles says:

    I have the following concerns:

    The staff/faculty that have gone or have transferred have been replaced with NHHS friends…

    We lost a counselor. She was transferred with little to no control in order to accommodate basketball. Guthrie came from New Hanover. His friend.

    We have an extra Assistant Principal (who we really don’t need), again from New Hanover. He has jumped many hoops to get her on board at Ashley. His friend. She sits in his office a lot either in the corner on a lap top. She cried for several months, sitting on his sofa. He was so engulfed with her, until he had little time for anything else.

    As much as we needed a strong person in this role. He has replaced our ISS person who was also our principal intern with someone from New Hanover.

    Our end of school year check off sheet was a duplicate from New Hanover.

    The office support associate who does payroll is from New Hanover. She is unprofessional and unpleasant to work with. He allows her to go and come as she pleases.

    I have never seen anything like this. It is so upsetting to see so many teachers leave because of the poor leadership. With all of the different principals that we have had from Brady to Pugh, we have never had one that was this incompetent. There is no level of trust. I have walked up on him several times talking to teachers about other teachers, or sharing confidential information that he should not be sharing. He forgets everything you tell him, he does not respond to emails, never stepped foot in my classroom, and is not organized. He jumps from subject to subject and never resolves an issue. The faculty meetings are a joke.

    Anything goes when it comes to his friends. I witnessed the intern being told at graduation that she was needed to call names because Mrs. Watson really didn’t want to do that! My jaw hit the floor.

    I have seen several teachers leaving his office crying…the ones you never hear from or cause problems. I don’t think I have never heard custodians speak as poorly about a leader as I have this year. What did our hiring committee do?

    I really don’t think that he is ready for a large high school like Ashley. It is too much and he is in over his head. It would be different if he had seasoned Assistant Principals, but he didn’t have that either. You could tell that there was little to no communication with them either. I would always see either Mrs. Watson or Mrs. Anderson in his office most of the time. The other two looked like spare tires. There was indeed a disconnect all year long between administration. Communication was deplorable. I wish him the best, but I am not hopeful that next year will be any better. The damage has been done.

  • Bewildered by our School Board says:

    I am bewildered by why our school board wanted to create Ashley into New Hanover.
    Please explain yourselves !

  • Margaret Ledbetter says:

    Well stated and totally true. It’s very disappointing to see this happening. Parents can make the difference and stay aware of what’s going on.

  • The Sheriff says:

    Since you want to chase rabbits instead of discussing the Ashley High School Principal Teacher working relationships I will humor you.

    Obama might be commander in chief but he isn’t my president. I didn’t vote for him. But I’d still give respect where respect is due.

    Again, Obama is the elected commander in chief but he isn’t my president. however, I’d show him the same respect I’d show any Democrat.

    I am loyal to America and will give it’s commander in chief the respect it’s due for defense of our nation. However, I don’t respect anyone, let alone a president, that would willingly trade 5 known terrorist for 1 Army deserter.

    “Do you practice what you preach? President Obama leads the nation, Principal Norvell leads a school. A lot of people have a problem with our President. A lot of teachers have a problem with their principal. So you are saying if people have a problem with the President, they should move out of the country? They are the problem, not the President. What was that you said about loyalty again? Citizens should be loyal to the United States but not the President? Teachers should be loyal to the school and not the Principal? or is it the other way around? Citizens should be loyal to the President but not the United States? Teachers should be loyal to the Principal but not the school?”

    Do you practice what you preach, because the last time I checked, we didn’t vote for principals. And as any red blooded American, you are free to leave America at anytime as well as renounce your citizenship through a step by step process courtesy of the State Department.

    I think I have more than demonstrated how your rationale is invalid. Fact is some teachers spoke out of turn to their students parents airing grievances instead of to their boss. Clear attempt to undermine Mr Norvell’s authority as principal of Ashley High School andas well as a gross violation of a teachers conduct. Which, in the real world, you would be up for termination for either.

    I have often heard that those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. I suggested to some of the concerned parents and teachers that if this mumbo jumbo school room sissy cry baby we ain’t getting our way crap is of any real concern, then transfer their kid to Issac Bear or Lakeside and then we will see what we see afterwards.

    By the way, have voted straight ticket republican since 1986.

  • Where is your Logic? says:

    Have you even read the comments here? The teachers have taken their concerns to the Principal, but now they are afraid to for fear of retaliation. They are not attempting to undermine Mr Norvells authority, he has done that by himself.

    You claim teachers should support him no matter what yet you yourself dont follow your own advice. You do not respect President Obama for a decision he made regarding five prisoners and one Army solider. Yet when the teachers say they do not respect their principal for decisions he has made, you say they should respect him no matter what or move to another school. Why is it alright for you to not respect someone (the President) but its not okay for teachers not to respect their Principal? Why the double standard? Do you feel you are superior to the teachers and know better what is going on in their school than they do?

    Twice you point out that “he is not my President”…..what happened to the whole support the role he is in? Youre right, the teachers do not vote for who will be their Principal, so if we take your position of, I didnt vote for him so he is not my President, then teachers didnt vote for him so he is not their Principal. Once again you do not practice what you preach.

    As for voting straight Republican ticket….how is that Brian Berger thing working out for you? Thats what happens when people blindly support one party, you end up with mistakes. I think thats what the teachers are trying to say…someone made a mistake putting this man in his Principal role. By the way, as you slam teachers and their profession (those who can do…those who cant….) just remember before he was a Principal…he was a teacher himself. So when you bash teachers….you are also bashing the man you so blindly support.

  • The Sheriff says:

    …the first rule of statistical data is you can “fudge” or skew the numbers to reflect desired results. The “survey” is nothing more than a tool designed to let teachers rant rave and or vent without having to put their name behind it.

    The only thing happening at ashley high school is mutiny. Jackson Norvell is the principal of that school and should be given the respect that he’s due for being in that role. Having said that I also acknowledge that it takes respect to get respect among peers. However, Mr. Norvell isn’t their peer. He’s their boss. Plain and simple. If yo abbé chordial with one another, while at work, great. But it’s not required. What is expected is some friggin loyalty. If not to Mr. Norvell , then to the school board and superintendent, who hired him and obviously felt he was more qualified to lead than others. Jealousy is ugly thing and we are seeing that play out.

    I am curious why the only solution is for Mr. Norvell to seek employment elsewhere or be reassigned. I feel it should be the other way around. He’s paid his dues. The only ones with the problem are the teachers apparently, so why don’t “they” seek reassignment or gainful employment elsewhere? Don’t want to hear any belly aching about established lives and burden of moving crap. Mr. Norvell would incur the same difficulties. So. Here we are back at square one again. Teachers seem to the ones with the problem. They express their frustrations with students parents instead of their boss. A clear attempt to undermine and discredit Mr. Norvells authority and role of principal of Ashley high school. Since we can’t keel haul the mutinous bunch, I say terminate their employment for violating their contracts, i.e. You know the part that covers their code of conduct, immediately as well as give them poor job references.

    As far as your bit about “whistleblowers” goes… Yes they are cry babies. Why do you think they included a part about no retaliation in the law. By, there are more than a few ways to deal with whistleblowers. Assignments of no real value…no inclusion in strategical planning…no entrustment of valued material, data or intell. And every whistleblower I have ever dealt with have always resigned because no one trusts them. With anything. So, before you drop your next roll of dimes, take a moment of pause and ask yourself is it really worth it?

  • Mr. Green Jeans says:

    Sheriff, this will be my last post and knowing you will respond, I will give you the last word.

    “But I’d still give respect where respect is due.” You do not say you respect you say you would….

    “However, I’d show him the same respect I’d show any Democrat.” Again, you do not say you do respect, you would show respect the same as any democrat, which I am guessing is none.

    “I am loyal to America and will give it’s commander in chief the respect it’s due for defense of our nation.” You cannot even say President, you use Commander in Chief but since you later claim you will not give respect to him for a decision he made you really have no respect for the President….in his role as president. Wouldnt a loyal American like you say you say you are, respect the president no matter what party he belongs to?

    “Americas policy has been to never to negotiate with terrorist. Ever.” But its okay to trade weapons to our enemies in exchange for hostages, you know the whole Reagan Iran Contra affair.

    You just seem to be a bitter person. You keep saying teachers should be terminated, Anyone without real world experience would be terminated. What is it with you and being terminated? Someone disagrees with you and you think they should be terminated? Believe me, if you worked for me…YOU would be terminated for having such a negative attitude and unwillingness to see other peoples points of views without attacking them.

    Where do you get off “assuming” I have no real world experience? You know nothing about me yet you make assumptions about everything, what is going on at Ashley, what my experience is.

    “No questions, no need for an explanation. Just get your stuff and beat feet.” It is exactly this kind of attitude and so full of yourself that the teachers are complaining about.

    “As far as Obama goes, the American people will replace him soon enough if he and his fellow dimwit democrats don’t destroy America first.” And when Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren is President, you can spit your hateful remarks for another 8 years or maybe you will get YOUR stuff and beat feet.

  • Does Sheriff Practice what he preaches? says:

    Hey Sheriff, lets apply this school situation to politics. You contend he is the Principal of the school and should be given the respect he’s due for being in that role. Do you respect President Obama as the President of the United States due to him being in that role?

    “It takes respect to get respect among peers. However, Mr. Norvell isn’t their peer. He’s their boss. Plain and simple.”

    Do you respect President Obama, he isnt your peer, he’s the boss, plain and simple.

    “What is expected is some friggin loyalty. If not to Mr. Norvell , then to the school board and superintendent, who hired him and obviously felt he was more qualified to lead than others”

    Are you loyal to President Obama? If not then what about the majority of Americans that hired him and felt he was more qualified to lead than others?

    Do you practice what you preach? President Obama leads the nation, Principal Norvell leads a school. A lot of people have a problem with our President. A lot of teachers have a problem with their principal. So you are saying if people have a problem with the President, they should move out of the country? They are the problem, not the President. What was that you said about loyalty again? Citizens should be loyal to the United States but not the President? Teachers should be loyal to the school and not the Principal? or is it the other way around? Citizens should be loyal to the President but not the United States? Teachers should be loyal to the Principal but not the school?

    Sheriff, you cant have it both ways.

  • The Sheriff says:

    As I suspected, you argue like a typical democrat. You left out…

    “But I’d still give respect where respect is due.”

    “However, I’d show him the same respect I’d show any Democrat.”

    “I am loyal to America and will give it’s commander in chief the respect it’s due for defense of our nation.”

    Americas policy has been to never to negotiate with terrorist. Ever.

    The difference between President Obama and Mr Norvell, is Mr Norvell is their supervisor and was put in charge of Ashley High School by the New Hanover County school board and superintendent, who obviously felt he was more qualified than any other candidate. Which, by the way, are elected by the people, for the people of the people. Mr. Norvell authorizes the payroll. Your president has no authority on a local government level. That is the difference.

    Keep in mind at Ashley High School is Mr Norvell runs the school, not the teachers. He is their boss. Not the other way around. And those teachers, who aired grievances, weren’t given the answer or solution they wanted, they then took those grievances and aired them in an inappropriate manner and in an inappropriate forum of the students parents. A VERY CLEAR ATTEMPT to undermine Mr. Norvell authority. I am sorry you don’t have real world experience to understand, but I have shown where your philosophy is flawed. But in the real world, you would be terminated for said actions. No questions, no need for an explanation. Just get your stuff and beat feet.

    As far as Obama goes, the American people will replace him soon enough if he and his fellow dimwit democrats don’t destroy America first.

  • Ashley Insider says:

    Mr. Norvell and the former Ashley coach/teacher frequently talked openly at the beginning of the year. Coach Rutledge is honest and frank. Mr. Norvell not only does not value these qualities but punished them, by removing his coaching job, doctoring his end-of-year evaluations, and making the school board move him out of the building. With this position, the department chair, and another vacancy have hit Ashley hard. Of the teachers that Norvell is being from NHHS, non have taught Psychology before so dissolve the courses- despite how the program grew.
    I am having trouble seeing how any actions by Mr. Norvell are in the interest of students, as he claims.
    I am sickened by the support and tools that Norvell continues to be given by the NHCS School Board to destroy AHS!

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Half the Math department is gone. There will be no psychology. Today I found out there will be no French of Latin. What other courses are going to be eliminated? Parents, transfer your students out while there is still time.

  • BEACH MOM says:

    A friend in NHCS ave kudos to our daughters 5 on the AP Psychology Exam, saying that her classes’ scores were the leading results with not just a few kids taking the test and doing well, but with over 70% of the 35 kids in the class passing it.
    Why would we get rid of AP Psych after such progress?
    I know the principal replaced him as a coach, but after the scores came in I’m sure they are keeping him, or trying to keep him to teach it again.

  • Teacher says:

    Being a principal at this time in NC is an especially difficult job, and like any job there are people that are just not cut out to handle it. There are certain characteristics of a principal that some people do not possess or in Mr. Norvell’s case maybe he just has not had the time to develop or learn because he had no principal leadership role until this year. I believe Mr. Norvell was thrown into the ocean of educational leadership without a life vest and his survival mode resulted with a lot of thrashing around and making waves that only made the situation worse. Knowing how to swim or lead requires training. When you train a hunting dog, you often put an inexperienced one with a seasoned one so they can learn by example. Unfortunately Mr. Norvell was trained under Mr. Finn, and we all know how that turned out for New Hanover. It will take years to restore the quality of that school, please do not allow that to happen to Ashley with a mass reduction of staff and turnover. Intimidation, fear and retaliation are not leadership traits that work. The school board to take a closer look at this situation, the teachers at Ashley are a group of excellent professionals that do value the students and community they serve and not just a group of complainers.
    Teachers have told me the feel they are no longer “a part of a team” and have gone into turtle mentality by hiding in their classroom too afraid of sticking out their neck for fear of getting it chopped off. The general lack of respect and common courtesy (not even once looking up from his computer when a teacher comes in the office to speak to him) is one small example. Being an effective leader means being able to deal with a variety of concerns and emotions from colleagues. A seasoned principal (like the former Mr. Mac) could disarm the most difficult situations simply by showing teachers, parents or students that he cared enough to listen to what we had to say, and we knew that he would try to remedy the situation to the very best of his ability. When someone wants to meet with you because they feel wronged in some way, or they have a problem, you need to hear them out without getting defensive or angry, and you need to make eye contact with them and put down the electronic devices. Treating others with respect is part of the Golden Rule, and although I believe Mr. Norvell is a good man at heart, he needs more time to hone effective leadership skills if he is to be a success and an asset in New Hanover County in the years to come, maybe he just isn’t ready yet for the ocean of trails he has been thrown in as a novice, he needs more experience. Ashley is a great school but without some adjustments it will continue to flounder and drift and the wounds will just continue to grow larger and our students will suffer as a result. If we are truly student centered, listen to the teachers because they are the ones on the front lines touching and changing lives. Working in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation is not healthy for anyone.

  • M. Ashley Teacher says:

    Dear NHCS School Board,

    Please. Do something.

    Save Our School.

    Sincerely worried,

    One more veteran AHS teacher

  • ASHLEY STAFF says:


  • Ashley Eagle Teacher says:

    Ashley Teachers,

    We have had many different people sit in the principal chair over the years. They each had their own style and approach to leadership. There are a few things that each of these principals had in common. Each of them had a vision of how they thought a school should be run. They knew how they wanted to raise the level of achievement of the students. They knew what kind of discipline policy should be in place. They understood the importance of maintaining and developing the traditions and spirit of a school. Some principals were more successful than others. Some ideas flopped, while others were revolutionary. And through all of the different styles and personalities, it was the teachers who put these plans into action. All of these principals knew that their best asset was their faculty. Mr. Norvell is the first principal I’ve worked for who doesn’t seem to understand that.

    Ashley High School has not been weakened through a lack of consistent leadership. In fact, we have learned to work really well as a staff over the years. Through strong principals, weak principals, or no principals, we have made it work. We have taken on leadership roles when needed, we pull together when we see a need, and we can get creative with discipline when we don’t have administrative support. We get it done. We get it done really well. People seem to think that Mr. Norvell inherited a lawless school riddled with problems. What Mr. Norvell walked into was a school with an incredibly talented, cohesive, and effective staff. To some people, this could be more intimidating than being put at the helm of a school with no direction.

    A good leader uses the strengths of his/her people. A good leader empowers people to make things happen. Every year, we have a beginning of the year faculty meeting. For Ashley High School, this meeting usually involves meeting our new principal. We sit in the cafeteria or Minnie Evans (depending on if this principal wants an intimate atmosphere or one that is more professional). As a staff, we are rested, recharged, and ready to take on the world.

    We sat at that faculty meeting again at the beginning of this past school year. We officially were introduced to Jackson Norvell. I hoped that this was the one. I had it all planned out in my head. This guy was going to know his stuff. This principal would forge relationships with faculty and students alike. He would learn about what was important to us. He would discover our strengths and weaknesses by getting to know us. This principal would give us feedback. He would acknowledge our successes and have great ideas on how we could do better if we stumbled. This principal would support us and encourage us. This was going to be the kind of principal that if he made a surprise visit to my classroom, I would be excited to see him and invite him in. This principal would want as much of our energy as possible going to the kids and our classes. The kids! This one was going to be the guy!!

    We waited in that meeting to hear what his plan of action was going to be. We are still waiting.

    Well, it was his first year. Right? There is a lot to learn and you have to hit the ground running. Mr. Norvell had a staff that was ready to work for him. We were ready to answer any questions. We were ready to help in any way we could. Mr. Norvell was now part of the team. He was now a Screaming Eagle! He made it very clear in e-mails, announcements, and during meetings that he was here to stay. He made sure we knew that he wasn’t going anywhere. It seemed odd, but we assumed he was just trying to reassure us. We were already over budget on name plates for the door of the principal’s office.

    I don’t want to sound like a “cry-baby” teacher. I’m not going to tell you about all the things Mr. Norvell did to us. I’m not going to tell you about the ways in which he threatened and intimidated us.

    My real complaint is what Mr. Norvell didn’t allow us to do. Mr. Norvell didn’t let us do our jobs. We are experienced teachers and have seen it all. We are accomplished and talented educators. You would be amazed at how many different situations we deal with in a day. They can range from life affirming to life threatening. We know how to resolve issues with parents, we know that earned grades should not be changed. We know how to handle kids, we know how to diffuse a situation, we know how discipline in a school should work because we have experienced it. And we really know how to teach. It doesn’t matter if we have the brightest students or the struggling ones, we go all in. We know that we are good at what we do. He needed to let us do our jobs. His insecurity about his inability to do his job, made him lash out at those who were doing theirs well.

    Mr. Norvell inherited a great staff. Mr. Norvell has teachers who are brilliant at running various after school clubs. He has teachers who devote massive amounts of time to coaching and nurturing athletic teams. He has teachers who get to work early and stay late to give the students extra help. He has a teacher who has developed an amazing yearbook program. He has a teacher who can make math click to any kid. He has a teacher with students who received off the chart AP scores. Mr. Norvell has teachers who are new to the profession and are so full of enthusiasm, that it is contagious. He has veteran teachers that are close to retirement and their years of knowledge are priceless. He has department heads that can manage their teachers with grace and fairness. Or rather, Mr. Norvell would still have all these teachers and resources if it weren’t for decisions that he made. Look what we have lost.

    Like any workplace, there are those employees that are phoning it in. Those teachers are few and known to administration. That is why it is so confusing that Mr. Norvell chose to focus his energy to fight the fights he did. Mr. Norvell’s greatest asset is his staff. He has taken away our ability to make decisions concerning our classes and students, yet he seems paralyzed to make any meaningful decisions himself. We are not respected or trusted by him as professionals. We have had all kinds of principals lead us in the past. What we have never had is a principal who has refused to lead at all.

    I wish we had a better way to express our views. I’m sad that as a professional, I only feel safe in an anonymous comment section. I believe strongly that communication between professionals is the best way to resolve issues. Every attempt I have made at communicating with my principal has resulted in being insulted, threatened, or simply ignored. These attempts were not to confront him about anything, they were just interactions necessary to do my job. I used to think that he and I must just have a personality conflict. I’ve never had a problem with a co-worker or administrator in the past. I have a respect for the hierarchy of the workplace. I spent much of the year in a state of uncertainty. I refused to believe that Mr. Norvell had the time or energy to intentionally go out of his way to interfere with me being successful. Over the past few days, I have learned that there were so many more teachers who were made to feel isolated and scared. I’m disappointed that we allowed ourselves to feel so insecure that we wouldn’t discuss our issues with each other.

    Our strength as a staff has always been that we support each other and work hard to solve problems. I have felt powerless during this whole year and I still fear his reaction to even the slightest challenge. I did everything I could to stay out of his way and avoid any issues with him, yet he still sought ways to interfere with my ability to do my job. Mr. Norvell has taken away what made us strong. He has divided us through paranoia, threats, personal attacks, and breaking our unity as a staff.

    I don’t know where we go from here. Mr. Norvell publicly called us all liars on the news. His thoughts about us are online for everyone to see. If he feels he can say that about an amazing group of hard working teachers and still thinks that he can earn our respect and trust, he does not understand how to manage people or the basic fundamentals of human behavior.

    What has Mr. Norvell accomplished this year? Ashley High School will certainly never be the same because of him. The amount of damage that he has done in just one year is staggering. We can’t afford another year of his destruction to our students or staff. Many of us have the documentation to file grievances. The last thing I want to do is spend my time, emotions and energy dealing with administrators and school board members that may have a skewed view of the situation. However, it may be time to find our voices again.

    Parents, your voices are heard the loudest. Please use them to support us.

    Students, always remember that you are what is most important in that school, even if the ones in charge are acting like kids.

  • K says:

    I have been so completely impressed by the teachers of Ashley High School. The eloquent and logical way that they have expressed their concerns explains well the heartbreak that they have suffered. I have sat through 17 of the first day meetings that the recent teacher described. I have seen various principals present their plan of action – some well, some less so, some clearly, many with much ado. To be left at the end of that meeting with nothing, and go a year with a principal with no plan, but to run off leader teachers, is inexcusable.
    Best of luck to the teachers who remain, we feel for you and your losses.

  • Ashley Eagle Teacher says:

    Has Mr. Norvell’s only classroom teaching experience been as a middle school music teacher? I would think that would be a class of students who wanted to be there. They are in that classroom practicing something they enjoy. There may even be prerequisites and if a student doesn’t make the cut, they don’t continue in the class. Does he understand what goes on in a core class high school classroom where some combinations of kids can be combustible? Where a teacher is dealing with 30 students who all have different strengths and weaknesses. Has he experienced the hours of grading and lesson planning. Is he equipped to give me feedback on my teaching style or help me reach a child with a particularly difficult learning disability? Does he know or understand the pressure the teachers and students are under during EOC/NCFinal time? Does he have the right experience at this point in his career to evaluate veteran classroom teachers? Is he in over his head?

    Note: In no way am I implying that the arts are not a necessary and integral part of a student’s education. The arts are as important as any other class taught at Ashley. I just want to point out that the students and classroom environment have a different dynamic than many of the other classrooms.

  • AHS teacher says:

    This could have been an opportunity to start a dialogue. Instead of opening up communications, he simply calls his staff liars. Mr. Norvell is aware that he has broken us. He knows it because of the threats he has made to us. He knows because he has made us cry and doubt ourselves. He knows because of the inappropriate things he says to us. His goals for Ashley are not based on the education of the students. His goal is to be a tyrant. Parents, don’t worry. We will continue to focus on your children. We will continue to use every ounce of our skill to make sure they are challenged and we will give them the tools to become amazing adults. We cherish the relationships we build with your children. We feel lucky that we get 4 short years to experience your child’s uniqueness. I wish everyone could know what it is like to watch a kid grow and find their path. This is why we teach and it is the best job in the world. We will do everything in our power to make sure that one man doesn’t interfere with your child reaching their full potential.

  • CJ says:

    Very well done.., but how long will he keep you in the building? Norvell has proven that really great teachers get sent away. The student at the last school board meeting was speaking up for a really challenging math teacher that has been at Ashley for years. My son did not have him, but I’ve heard great things about how prepared his kids are for the rest of their math classes. The new psychology/teacher and coach who is being moved had AP scores that seem higher than any other subject based on anecdotal numbers from the kids talking (my son made a 5) and he did those strong scores even though Norvell didn’t get him textbooks for his classes. These are only 2 example that I happen to have connections too, what do we NOT KNOW about. Great teachers exist at Ashley, how can we guarantee they stay there with Norvell there.

  • Impressed by teacher comments, not so impressed by principal says:

    Impressed by teacher comments, not so impressed by principal. Watching this man’s eyes and body language – wow, nice job asking him some uncomfortable questions Chris Brown. There is a story here, some stinky business here!

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Someone is clueless. It is not the teachers. It is not the students. That’s all I’m speechless.

  • Concerned Parent says:

    Something is wrong here. In one sentence, Mr. Norvell takes full responsibility for what is going on at Ashley High School. In the next, he uses the collective “we” when discussing decisions made. Classic dodging of the issues and rationalizations for his tactics. He does not practice what he is professing to preach. He is only saying these things because he is under fire and will most likely continue his campaign to intimidate and bully staff.

  • DisGuestedly says:

    So 80% of your teachers are not comfortable with raising concerns. The main reason people are not comfortable with raising concerns in any job is fear of retaliation. They must have some reason for feeling this way, Principal Norvell. Care to comment or are you just clueless as to how to be a true leader?

  • Concerned Former Studnet says:

    This information is pretty funny because I just graduated from Ashley as a top student in my class and I can say with certainty that 100% of students who were asked about the dynamic of the school would report terrible administration and a complete lack of focus on the students. I’m very glad that the media and the school board has final caught onto this mess so that they can shine a light on it and hopefully jolt some of those who are causing the issues into action to fix Ashley. This issue is not an issue of new administration or of bad students, it’s quite on the contrary. This issue is about a group of adults who cannot seem to fix their own issues and get along. When the students can come to resolutions faster and that are more effective than the adults leading them can, you know for sure that there is a serious issue.

  • A 2014 Graduate says:

    It is a disgrace to say as a former student that your Senior year of high school was miserable. It is the year the you gleam for the three previous years. Too bad myself and fellow classmates did not have a great experience at Ashley High School. There is a trend here. As administration makes teachers miserable and hate their jobs; they lose interest in students. Is it not a fact that public education is focused around the students? However, that is NOT the case at Ashley. Students have ZERO voice in their education. Never once did anyone go out of their way to help us. We are strictly a pawn in a game to these adults. If I could do it all over, I would’ve transferred. Parents, look at your other options and speak to your kids about how they feel at school. If you do not speak up, no action will be taken. Call the school board every single day and make a complaint. Voice your opinion. You have a say in your child’s education so make it heard. Students: reach out to the school board. Tell them how your favorite teacher is being moved to another school because they are able to stand up for what’s right; how your math teacher quit and retired; how teachers are bullied in front of you; and how your safe school is not longer safe. No matter what kind of man Mr. Norvell is outside of school; we only care about how he is in school. He is a disgrace to Ashley. This is not the job for him so help the school board and him realized he needs to be moved. We have to have passion in our education. Ashley is faultily because no one can stick along to realize it and make a difference. With 4 different principals in four years; it just gets worse. Mr. Mac is still identified as the class of 2018’s principle; how sad is that?

  • Proud Ashley teacher says:

    Jackson Norvell doesn’t have a relationship or impact on a single student at Ashley. His view of the school is from inside that office you saw in the interview. He makes decisions based on ego and his own interests. You all got a small taste of the arrogance in that interview. Several times he but his tongue but that was for the camera. He is not used to having to have civil discourse in that office.

    I know that my fellow teachers love Ashley high school and our students. It is insulting to say he makes decisions for the kids and demonizing his teachers in the process. It’s an easy tag line or talking point but it doesn’t hold water.

    If you know an Ashley student. Ask them if Jackson Norvell would know their name. Heck ask them how many times they saw their principal in the halls or in their class this year.

    I am tired of this mans lies. I will continue to make Ashley the best school I can next year. I hope the board will make the right decision and help us as well.

  • Irate about administration says:

    This is classic BS. Look at his own words!
    “First of all, it is not the truth,” Norvell said.
    “Second of all, I was not aware of this perception until very recently. Now that I am aware, I’m going to do everything in my power to combat this misperception.”
    OK. First words out of his mouth are, it’s not true, then I didn’t know about it, but I’ll fix it.
    Fix what? The concerns you say are lies! Incredible!

  • Legal Eagle says:

    I wrote earlier all the legal reasons why the Ashley principal and supervisors can’t speak (wrongful termination cases, defamation, harassment, etc.), but I missed it. He, Ashley principal, did talk, unbelievably, and I missed one reason. He could turn out on record to sound like an idiot.

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