District Announces New School Support Officers, Principals

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For Immediate Release: July 27, 2017

Contact: Nora Shoptaw (336) 370-8386
Media Desk (336) 574-5730

District Announces New School Support Officers, Principals
Seven principals, five school support officers will take new roles

Greensboro, N.C. – At its meeting on Thursday, the Guilford County Board of Education accepted the superintendent’s recommendation to name seven principals and five school support officers, effective August 1.

Valerie Akins, Leigh Jones, Christopher Tolliver, Weaver Walden and Fabby Williams will become school support officers with the district. School support officers will take a more hands-on approach in supervising principals and helping them create strong and successful schools. These officers will report to Chief of Schools Dr. Tony Watlington.

Valerie Akins was promoted to Executive Director of the Southeastern Region in 2012, working directly with principals to help meet the instructional needs of their students and professional development needs of their staff. Before that, she served as principal of Vandalia Elementary and Swann (formerly Aycock) Middle schools and was named GCS Principal of the Year in 2008.

Leigh Jones joined GCS in 2015 as Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum. In that role she provided leadership and coordination of middle and high school academic programs as well as career and technical education, media services and instructional technology. She has served in administrative and principal roles with Randolph County Schools, Rockingham County Schools and Asheboro City Schools.

Christopher Tolliver was appointed principal at Eastern Middle in 2014. In his first two years as principal, proficiency scores in end-of-grade science testing increased from 50.7 percent to 68 percent. Before becoming a principal, Tolliver was an assistant principal at Dudley High and a teacher of math and language arts at Johnson Street Global Studies.

Weaver Walden has served as Interim Executive Director of the Northern Region since February and Principal at Oak Hill Elementary since 2014. During his tenure, Oak Hill Elementary was named a national and state School of Character and met expected growth all three years. He started with the district as a teacher at Fairview Elementary and was the 2003 Elementary Math Teacher of the Year.

Fabby Williams joined GCS as principal at Northeast High in 2012. During that time the school’s graduation rate has increased to more than 92 percent in 2015, exceeded expected growth in 2015 and increased overall proficiency by 14.6 percentage points in 2015. School data also showed a reduction in the achievement gap between white and black students in 2014-15.

The district also announced seven principal appointments.

Carla Flores-Ballesteros will become principal at Allen Jay Elementary. She took an assistant principal role at Western (Guilford) Middle in 2012, where she helped reduce discipline referrals by more than 25 percent and improved parent involvement by more than 20 percent.

Crystal Gregory was named principal at Parkview Village Elementary. She joined the district as an assistant principal at Irving Park Elementary in 2012. During her time, the school’s science scores increased by more than 7 percentage points, out-of-school suspensions decreased and the school met growth is 2015-16.

Tresha Layne will lead Weaver Academy. Previously she held roles as a curriculum facilitator at Weaver Academy, an academic coach in the Southeastern and Northern Regions and was also an assistant principal at Southern Alamance High School. She’s also worked as a clinical supervisor at UNCG, the director of professional learning at North Carolina New Schools and a school improvement consultant for the Southern Regional Education Board.

Jusmar Maness will join Southern Middle as principal. She has been principal at Balfour Elementary School in Asheboro since 2014, and before that was assistant principal at Jones Elementary and Southern Middle. She is also the Piedmont Triad Regional Principal of the Year.

Stephanie Rakes will be the new principal at Vandalia Elementary. She’s been serving the district as literacy supervisor since 2013, leading district-wide efforts to standardize core literary curriculum. Before that Rakes was a regional academic coach and administrative intern, and also worked as an academically gifted coach and English teacher.

Kris Vecchione will become principal at Mendenhall Middle. She has been principal at Guilford Elementary since 2012, and the school has exceeded growth and increased proficiency under her leadership. She returns to Mendenhall Middle, where she was a principal intern in 2009-10, and also was assistant principal at Northern High from 2010-12.

Lamont McMillan will become principal at Guilford Elementary, where he has been assistant principal since 2012. While serving as assistant principal he helped increase attendance at parent events and led the school to be recognized as a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) model school by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

About Guilford County Schools
Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, the 47th largest of more than 14,000 in the United States, and serves more than 73,000 PK-12 students at 126 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, GCS works in partnership with parents, businesses, colleges and the community to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. We provide educational choices to meet individual student needs in a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities to help our students Soar to Greatness. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com.

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