Neuse Charter School has hired Ted Melton as its middle and high school principal.
Melton comes to the school from Beaufort County, where he was an assistant principal at Washington High School, a 2A school with about 1,100 students. Melton graduated from Washington High in 1985.
Melton’s wife, Shelley, and son, Ethan, have spent their entire lives in Washington, he said, so they put a lot of consideration into whether he should take a job in Smithfield.
Ultimately, Melton said, the decision had less to do with his career aspirations than with Ethan, who will start ninth grade in the fall.
“When I came up and saw the school, and everything that it had to offer my child, that made the decision easy for me,” he said.
The educational opportunities and academic rigor at Neuse Charter impressed Melton, he said, as did the freedom for students to take a variety of classes. The school offers electives that did not exist at Washington High, he said, such as American Sign Language, oceanography and forensics.
Coming from a traditional public school, Melton said he looks forward to spending more of his time focused on teaching students instead of disciplining them.
“I was basically a police officer at my last school,” Melton said. “And here, we can really work on education.”
Melton said he plans to spend a lot of time in the classroom, and his goal is to ensure every student who graduates from Neuse Charter is ready for college or a career.
Melton, who started work in mid-July, said he has been impressed with the number of parents he has seen around campus. It takes parental involvement to push children to their full potential, Melton said, and he will focus on keeping moms and dads in the loop with open lines of communication.
Melton graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in school administration from ECU.
In searching for a new middle and high school principal, Neuse Charter considered candidates from across the nation, said Dr. Julie Jailall, the school’s executive director. Melton made the cut, she said, because he will help the school pursue its goal of being highly innovative and exceptional in every way.
“We needed someone with fresh ideas and a background in education that fits our school,” she said. “His life skills, and his knowledge as an educator, all fit into what we want to do here as a school.”
Neuse Charter’s previous high school principal, Joel Erby, left before the school year ended in late April. He had been principal for three years.
Erby was well liked, Jailall said, but the school’s board of directors decided it was time to make a change.
“It was a personal issue that I don’t think that I’m at liberty to discuss,” she said.
As the new middle and high school principal of Neuse Charter, Melton said he hopes to be a leader in the community too. That’s why he chose to move his family to a home in Smithfield, he said, and he plans to get involved in civic groups around town.
“As a principal, I need to be in the community that we serve,” he said.