A Raleigh elementary school whose popular longtime principal died in August a week before the new school year started has gotten a new leader.
On Tuesday, the Wake County school board named Marie Palmer to be the new principal of Brooks Elementary School in Raleigh. Palmer, an assistant principal at North Ridge Elementary School in Raleigh, will start at Brooks on Dec. 17 with a salary of $87,904.
The Brooks community was shocked when Felecia Locklear, 60, died unexpectedly in her sleep on Aug. 21. Locklear had been principal of Brooks for 17 years.
Brooks was suffering from declining test scores that made it unattractive to families who live near it by the North Hills shopping center in Raleigh when Locklear became principal in 2001. Locklear led Brooks through its transition to become a magnet school that has won several national awards and is now in high demand from families.
Kenneth Branch, a retired principal, was brought in to lead Brooks while a search was conducted for Locklear’s successor.
According to Palmer’s bio on North Ridge’s website, she’s worked in the Wake school system since 2004 as an elementary school teacher, academic coach and for the last three years as North Ridge’s assistant principal.
The school board also announced on Tuesday that Luther Thomas will serve as interim principal of Davis Drive Middle School in Cary from Jan. 3 to March 1. He’s stepping in for Rick Williams, who was recently named principal of the new Alston Ridge Middle School.