NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Summer is here for students but the work continues inside the New Hanover County School System.
“We’re about educating students, and so we want to make sure that students have the best education possible,” said Dr. Tim Markley, adding that’s the school system is doing, though not without challenges.
This year the district has had its share of ups and downs. Ups included the passage of a school bond. One that means new resources and eventually new schools, but when that starts a new set of challenges.
“We’re gonna look at redistricting, and that is always a traumatic time for parents when you talk about moving lines,” Markley said.
He says they constantly face the pressure of keeping up with the times.
“The nature of school is not what it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. When I went to 2nd grade my desk was bolted to the floor in a row. Schools don’t operate that way anymore,” he said.
The downs for the year include principal shakeups Dr. Markley called higher than average.
“When I talk to any principal it’s about looking where the school’s at and working to improve that school,” Markley added.
Like the move of Principal Jackson Norvell who is now out from Ashley High School and into Wrightsville Beach Elementary.
“Jackson is going over to Wrightsville Beach, he’s got ties to the community, he went into a school that’s had some leadership issues, and it was just the right time to make a transition,” said Markley
Markley said it wasn’t just lower than average teacher satisfaction scores or advanced school survey results that guide those decisions.
“When you evaluate a principal you wanna look at community, you wanna look at internally at student performance, you wanna look at what the teacher piece is, and that’s all part of what happens within that school,” he said.
Professionally, Markley has been named superintendent of the year and had his contract renewed by the school board, though he has his critics. We asked him about parents and teachers who say he’s unapproachable.
“Well, I would suggest that if they have concerns they’re welcome to call, and I meet with parents and I meet with teachers all the time. When they do meet with me because of the issues I am not always going to be able to grant you what you want. But we’ll try to work with parents,” Markley responded.