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.”

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102 Comments on "Ashley HS principal responds to criticism from faculty"

2015 years 8 months ago

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
2015 years 8 months ago

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?

2015 years 8 months ago

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
2015 years 8 months ago

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!

2015 years 8 months ago

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.