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Enloe Magnet High Principal and Washington Magnet Elementary Assistant Principal Named District’s Top School Leaders

 Assistant Principal of the Year Roxann Sykes hugs fellow finalist


Oct. 4, 2018


Will Chavis, principal of Enloe Magnet High, was named 2018-19 Principal of the Year in a celebration held Oct. 4. Washington Magnet Elementary Assistant Principal Roxann Sykes received the honor in her category.


Chavis has been principal of Enloe Magnet High since 2016. During this time, he has worked to create administrative, teacher, student and parent equity teams focused on reducing disparities and improving outcomes and experiences for the school’s nearly 2,500 students. Thanks to this focused, strategic work, Enloe’s graduation rate has climbed to 92.6 percent (a 9.5 percentage-point increase in two years.) In just the past year, Grade Level Proficiency on End-of-Course tests has increased by 5.1% while Career and College Readiness proficiency increased by 6.3 percent.


Enrollment in Advanced Placement courses at Enloe has increased by 130 percent, and suspensions have decreased by nearly 40 percent in the past two years. And in 2017-18, the school exceeded growth, after not having met growth for two years prior.


Chavis’s leadership strategy is focused on evaluating and assessing school culture and climate, digging into student data, amplifying student voice and engaging parents and the broader community to support Enloe’s diverse student population and drive school improvement. He also has built a structure in which his 205 staff members work in professional learning communities, both inside and outside of their content areas. They work collaboratively to analyze and problem solve around issues of student performance data among subgroups, quarterly grade distribution, attendance, discipline/suspensions, retention and graduation rates.


“My educational philosophy lies in the assumption that all educators have good intentions for students; it is my role as a principal to influence and ignite a passion in which these educators ensure intentions align to their practice in significantly impacting educational experiences for all,” Chavis said. “I endeavor to hire high-quality teachers who desire to be champions for students and change. In doing so, I create a learning environment where our entire school serves as a professional community, transforming educational experiences to opportunity, achievement and student success.”


Before moving into the principal role at Enloe, Chavis was principal of Fuquay-Varina Middle (2013-16) and Assistant Principal of Fuquay-Varina High (2010-13). He also served as a math teacher and department chair at Graham High (2004-10) in the Alamance-Burlington School System and as an adjunct math professor and instruction at Alamance Community College. He worked as a math teacher with the nonprofit Sunflower County Freedom Project in Oxford, MS in 2004. He has nine years of experience as a school administrator and has been working in education for 15 years.



As Principal of the Year, Chavis received a $1,000 check compliments of corporate sponsors; a 40” TV from NTA Life; and a $100 gift card to The Angus Barn compliments of Lifetouch. His school will receive a $500 check from Strawbridge Studios.


All finalists for Principal of the Year received a plaque, a $500 check from corporate sponsors and a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies from Office Depot.


2018-19 Assistant Principal of the Year - Roxann Sykes

Sykes has served as assistant principal at Washington Magnet Elementary for four years. Prior to this role, she served as the full-time principal intern at Fuquay-Varina Elementary from 2013-14 and as a K-3 teacher at Bugg Magnet Elementary from 2005-12. She has four years of administrative experience and 14 years of experience working in education.


Highlights of Sykes’s accomplishments as an assistant principal include redesigning the School Improvement Team, creating a Family Advisory Support Team for Safe and Inclusive Schools, modifying master elective schedules to maximize math and literacy instructional time, increasing access to AIG Challenge electives for all students and implementing a survey to assess students’ social and emotional competences, learning styles, strengths and areas of need.


Sykes also has found creative solutions to help close achievement gaps for students and their families. She recently formed a partnership with the Mexican Consulate to expand the Washington GT Community Accelerated Response to Education (CAREs) after-school enrichment program that she created. The expansion includes a learning environment in which Latino parents can earn certificates toward their elementary, middle or high school diploma.


“Many students come to us with gaps in achievement and experiences before they even enter kindergarten. Our acceleration program is an avenue that supports teachers with additional opportunities to close those gaps,” she said. “The program also strengthens relationships between students and teachers so that the students' confidence and self-efficacy grow and that translates to the classroom. These outcomes are those that aren't often measured but make the biggest impact.”


She also has established a mentoring group called “Team Elite,” for African-American males in grades 3-5 with academic or behavior challenges. As a part of the program, the group meets four times a week to complete activities and reflect and discuss behavior and academic progress. Mentors from the staff and community participate in the group to build relationships, lead, teach and celebrate the students as they grow their social and emotional learning competencies.



Sykes received a $500 check from corporate sponsors and a 40” TV from NTA Life.


All finalists for Assistant Principal of the Year received a plaque, a $250 check from corporate sponsors and a rolling cart filled with miscellaneous office supplies from Office Depot.


The selection process for both Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year is the same. Their peers nominate them, after which they provide a portfolio outlining their resume, accomplishments and philosophies as leaders.


A committee reviews the portfolio submissions, performs observations at the school and conducts interviews. An average of the three committees’ scores determines the winner.


Committees include the most recent Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year, the Teacher of the Year, additional principals, a board member representative, area superintendents and central services administrators.


The 2018-19 Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year Celebration was held at The Angus Barn. The event was fully sponsored by support from generous business and community partners.