Midtown Raleigh News

New principal seeks ‘heartbeat’ of Enloe High

Enloe High School’s new principal doesn’t start work until tomorrow, but he’s already a familiar face.

Scott Lyons has a history at the school, starting there as an English teacher in 1999, then taking on his first assistant principal gig there in 2002.

He left for a principal spot at Ligon Middle School in 2005, then hopped to Leesville Road High School in 2009.

Last month, the Wake County Board of Education moved him back to Enloe, and Lyons couldn’t be more pleased.

Staff Writer Chelsea Kellner caught up with Lyons last week to hear his plans for the school and what he’s learned during his time away. Responses have been edited for length.

Q: What makes Enloe a place you wanted to return to?

A: It’s a very challenging place, and a very dynamic and energetic place. There are so many fresh ideas there, so many opportunities to do things creatively with the curriculum that are not as easy to do at a traditional school. Because it’s a magnet school, we can create our own curriculum for electives.

Q: What are some of Enloe’s challenges?

A: There is a lot of passion at the school, which is a major positive, but sometimes people are so passionate they can get frustrated easily. Probably the biggest challenge is not letting it get too out of control with the amount of programs. Sometimes when ideas get added on and on, you have to find things to take away, because you’re doing so much that you’re not giving focus to any of it.

Q: What have you learned in your time away from Enloe?

A: I had a hand in administration when I was at Enloe before, but I was not the principal, so the chance to be the final stop for decisions (at Ligon) was a big shift. I’ve had the chance as principal to experience a middle school magnet program that was very similar to Enloe, then be principal of a traditional high school and experience prom, graduations, homecomings, all those milestones in high school life.

Q: Do you have a goal or focus for Enloe this time around?

A: There are a lot of changes coming down through the state of North Carolina with the Race to the Top grant and the common core curriculum many states have adopted. With all those changes, there’s a lot of challenges ahead trying to implement those while still trying to do the job we’re doing now. The biggest focus at first would be to help the teachers and be supportive as we prepare.

Q: How do you plan to do that?

A: I plan to solicit a lot of feedback from parent groups, from students and from staff members. I’m very much a value-shared leader. I definitely want to know the heartbeat of a school before I make a major decision.

Q: What are your thoughts on coming in mid-year?

A: A lot of people get frustrated when they see principals move. As a principal who has moved twice, that tail end of a school year I’ve been able to see at my new school has been invaluable, before summer came and I had an empty building and had to make decisions about the school for the following year. It’s hard to do that if you’ve never seen the school in motion. People can explain what they think the issues are, but unless you see it in action, you don’t understand what’s causing the problem – and most of the changes need to be put in place over the summer.

The flip side of that is that I’m very sad to leave Leesville before this group of students graduates. I do plan to go back for graduation.