Nancy Allen knew it was time for East Wake Middle to get some new eyes.
The principal, who has been with the school since 1999 – except for a year and a half in Carteret County – was named the new principal of Durant Road Middle School in Raleigh last Tuesday.
Allen has been principal at East Wake Middle since 2009.
She expressed interest in the position, but decided to stay at East Wake months ago.
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Now, Allen said, being named was a sign and a chance to live what she reminds her staff.
“We talk about the fact that we are lifelong learners and to me, this is an example of being a lifelong learner,” she said. “I know (East Wake Middle) and it’s time for me to learn something new.”
Allen said one of the changes she will encounter will be dealing with a completely different demographic at Durant Road.
According to data kept by Wake County Public Schools, Durant Road Middle has 34.4 percent of its student population on free or reduced lunch.
At East Wake Middle, that percentage is 66.2.
Durant Road also consistently performs above state averages on reading and math end-of-grade tests, while East Wake Middle tends to be below district and state averages.
Allen said she never wants to become the status quo, but wants to push students and the school to achieve more, which is why she felt it was time to make the move to a new school.
“It’s time for some fresh eyes,” she said.
And even though Allen said it is time for a new person to lead East Wake Middle and work with its staff and students, she hopes students and staff will remember her as a stable figure in their small community.
Allen is also leaving the area as work by the Knightdale Area Education Work Group continues.
The group was created in late 2013 to address problems in Knightdale’s schools. With Allen’s departure, there are only three permanent principals left in the town’s six schools.
Knightdale High School’s current principal, Carla Jernigan-Baker, will move to the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy after this school year ends and Knightdale Elementary School’s former principal, Linda Roberson, resigned in 2013.
Allen will see about a $3,000 pay raise with her move; from $100, 084 a year at East Wake Middle to $103, 757 at Durant Road.