Ashley HS principal responds to criticism from faculty

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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