School board approves new principal for Southwood

School board approves new principal for Southwood

The Lenoir County Board of Education met Monday night. The board is, from left, Billy Davis, Merwyn Smith, Superintendent Brent Williams, Chair Keith King, Vice Chair Bruce Hill, W. D. Anderson and Elijah Woods. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

The July meeting of the Lenoir County Board of Education took place Monday evening, and the board approved several personnel changes. 

Following a closed session, Superintendent Brent Williams announced the board’s approval for Southwood Elementary School Principal Michelle Hill to transition to a curriculum development position for elementary schools, based at Southeast Elementary School. 

New Southwood Elementary Principal Christel Carlyle. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

With Hill taking another position, Williams announced that current Kinston High School Assistant Principal Christel Carlyle was selected to replace her as principal of Southwood Elementary. 

Carlyle is a Lenoir County native and Kinston High School graduate. She was a principal intern at Banks Elementary School and worked in curriculum development at Kinston High School before becoming the assistant principal of Lakeforest Elementary School in Pitt County. 

Carlyle said it was a pleasure to return to Lenoir County to become assistant principal at Kinston High, and she is excited for the opportunity to continue serving the students of Lenoir County as the principal of Southwood.

“I love elementary students, and I’m thrilled to be able to serve the students and families of Southwood,” Carlyle said. 

In addition to the principal change, Williams also announced the board had approved the hiring of Vivian Roach as the interim director of Federal Programs for Lenoir County Public Schools following the recent retirement of Abbott Hunsucker from that position.

During the meeting, the school board also received an update on policy changes from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) regarding homeschooled students and transgender students. 

Homeschooled students will now have the opportunity to participate in public school athletics provided they have been enrolled in their homeschool for at least 365 days and are dual-enrolled at the high school, with a class schedule that is at least half the school day and  taking at least one class on campus. Read more about this policy here.

Williams said this change could impact enrollment numbers for the district, while noting it brings athletics into alignment with policies that were already in effect for other extracurricular activities such as band or drama. 

The NCHSAA also updated eligibility policies regarding transgender athletes. The new policy requires students to compete as the gender that is listed on their birth certificate unless the school submits a Gender Identity Request form with substantial accompanying documentation from the student regarding consistent gender identification. 

An NCHSAA Gender Identity Committee will consider the request and grant an exemption if it finds that the student genuinely identifies as the gender identified in the request. 

Williams also announced his excitement for the upcoming Opening Day Convocation at Grainger Stadium on Aug. 12 which will include all staff from all schools in the county.

The next meeting of the Lenoir County Board of Education will be held Monday, Aug. 12.

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