Broughton High School gets a new leader

Elena Ashburn has been named the new principal of Broughton High School in Raleigh.
Elena Ashburn has been named the new principal of Broughton High School in Raleigh. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A young educator who has quickly ascended the leadership ranks in the Wake County school system will lead Broughton High School, Raleigh’s oldest public high school.

Elena Ashburn, 31, who is the current principal at East Garner Middle School, will take the helm at Broughton on Feb. 1. She will be the school’s fifth principal since 1970, which she says “really speaks to the strength of the school.”

Broughton, which opened in 1929 near what is now Cameron Village, has educated some of Raleigh’s most prominent families.

“It’s a flagship school, rich in tradition and history,” Ashburn said.

Former Broughton principal Stephen Mares left in October to lead Athens Drive High School in West Raleigh after principal James Hedrick died unexpectedly in August.

Roy Teel, a former Broughton principal, has been serving as the school’s interim leader.

Ashburn hadn’t planned on being an educator. But after graduating from Longwood University in Virginia with an English degree in 2007, she joined Teach for America, which recruits “high-achieving” recent college graduates. The program trains participants and sends them to low-income schools across the United States.

Ashburn landed at Southern High School in Durham. She went on to earn a master’s degree in school administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012 while serving as assistant principal intern at Holly Ridge Middle School in Holly Springs.

She was an assistant principal at Fuquay-Varina High School for two years before she became principal at East Garner Middle in 2014.

At Broughton, Ashburn said, she wants to learn how others envision the school’s future. She plans to hold meetings with students, staff and parents.

“I’m humbled to serve as the principal of Broughton,” Ashburn said. “The principal is to serve students, staff and community, working alongside all three to achieve the school’s goals. I take that position seriously.”

Ashburn, who lives in Raleigh, said she is professionally and personally invested in the school. Her two daughters will eventually attend Broughton.

“I’m pleased that a new leader has been named, and Elena is highly thought of,” said school board Vice Chairwoman Christine Kushner, whose district includes Broughton. “I think she will be a great addition to Broughton.”

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler