Mark Savage and Scott Lyons, two well-liked Wake County high school principals, say they are ready to take on new challenges as they switch jobs this summer.
Savage, who has served as principal at Heritage High School in Wake Forest since it opened six years ago, was tapped by the school board to serve as the western area superintendent and will oversee 21 school principals.
Lyons, who has been principal at Enloe High, a magnet school near downtown Raleigh, since 2012 will lead Heritage.
“I feel ready to try a different capacity of leadership,” said Savage, who started his new central office job July 27.
At Heritage, Savage was named Wake’s principal of the year in 2013. Under Savage’s leadership, Heritage High School teachers won the county’s teacher of the year award in 2014 and 2016.
Savage, who is the father of a Heritage graduate and has two other children who will attend the school this fall, said he’s confident the school will continue to thrive.
“I feel like we are probably 20-deep in strong leaders at Heritage,” he said. “I feel like my kids, and all the kids, are going to be well-served by (Lyons’) leadership.”
Heritage High, which enrolls about 1,900 students, had a higher four-year graduation rate than Wake County during the 2014-15 school year. Ninety percent of Heritage students graduated in four years, while 86.1 percent of of Wake students overall graduated in that time.
During the 2014-15 school year, 65.9 percent of Heritage students passed end-of course exams, compared to 66.7 percent of all high school students in Wake.
Lyons, who has worked at Enloe as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, said he thinks it’s time for the school to get a fresh perspective from new leadership.
“When you’ve been at a place for 11 years, even if it’s not been 11 years straight, it is nice to have a new leader,” he said.
William Chavis, who has worked as principal at Fuquay-Varina Middle School since 2013, will lead Enloe, a school known for its competitive academics.
Lyons said Enloe’s graduation rate has improved in recent years. During the 2014-15 school year, 81.6 percent of Enloe students graduated in four years, and 68.6 percent passed end-of-course exams.
This month, Enloe will become the last high school in the Wake County school system to switch to a block schedule, in which students take fewer, but longer, classes each day. The change will prevent students from skipping lunch – a tradition at the school among students who want to get more classes in their schedules.
Lyons said that while he is looking forward to leading Heritage, he will remember his time at Enloe fondly.
“Enloe is an amazing school,” he said. “A part of my heart will always remain there.”
Rodger Koopman, Enloe’s PTA president, said his son Kees, a rising junior at the school, has told stories about how Lyons goes above and beyond. Once, Koopman said, Lyons was seen pulling a patch of weeds on the school’s grounds.
“To me, the little vignettes indicate that he takes pride in the institution he leads,” Koopman said.
Koopman said he’s spoken with several parents who are sorry to see Lyons leave, but they understand.
“He gets to build up an education program in a new school,” Koopman said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of opportunity for him.”
Chris Cioffi, 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi