Two Raleigh magnet school leaders were named the Wake County school system’s top school administrators on Thursday.
Will Chavis of Enloe High School was named Wake County’s 2018-19 Principal of the Year at a ceremony at the Angus Barn in Raleigh. Roxann Sykes of Washington Elementary School was named Assistant Principal of the Year.
Chavis, an educator for 15 years, was praised for his efforts that have led to increases in Enloe’s academic performance since he became principal in 2016. While Enloe’s magnet program draws some of the top students from around the county, the east Raleigh school also works with nearby families who may not be doing as well academically.
Since 2016, Enloe’s graduation rate has increased 9.5 percentage points to 92.6 percent, and the percentage of students passing state exams has also increased. Enrollment in Advanced Placement courses that can provide students with college credit has increased by 130 percent, and suspensions have decreased by nearly 40 percent in the past two years.
“My educational philosophy lies in the assumption that all educators have good intentions for students,” Chavis said in a written statement. “It is my role as a principal to influence and ignite a passion in which these educators ensure intentions align to their practice in significantly impacting educational experiences for all.”
Before coming to Enloe, Chavis was principal of Fuquay-Varina Middle School and an assistant principal of Fuquay-Varina High School. He’s also been a math teacher in the Alamance-Burlington School System and a math professor at Alamance Community College.
Chavis will receive a prize package that includes a $1,000 check. He will compete in the state Principal of the Year competition.
Like Chavis, Sykes was also praised for her work in helping students in a diverse school environment. Most of Wake County’s magnet schools are located in lower-income areas in an effort to attract affluent students through unique programs to try to diversify the enrollments.
Sykes was recognized for efforts such as partnering with the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh to expand an after-school enrichment program she recently created.
“Many students come to us with gaps in achievement and experiences before they even enter kindergarten,” Sykes said in a written statement. “Our acceleration program is an avenue that supports teachers with additional opportunities to close those gaps.”
Sykes also has established a mentoring group called “Team Elite,” for African-American males in grades three through five with academic or behavior challenges.
Sykes, who has 14 years of education experience, has served as assistant principal at Washington Elementary for four years. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal intern at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School and a teacher at Bugg Elementary School in Raleigh.
Sykes will receive a prize package that includes a $500 check.