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Schools system announces leadership changes

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Jennifer James

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By Brian Wudkwych
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leadership changes at Stokes School, the new Innovative Early College High School and the Health Sciences Academy were announced Tuesday by Pitt County Schools.

Current Stokes Principal Jennifer James has been selected as the principal for the Innovation Early College at East Carolina University, which will welcome its first wave of students in August. 

“It’s very bittersweet for sure,” James said. “I spent four years here at Stokes and I developed really fantastic relationships with my staff and my students. It’s been a blessing to be here and to watch the transformation of the school.”

James, who has 11 years of educational experience, oversaw the implementation of the “Leader In Me” program at Stokes, which aims to equip both students and staff with the necessary tools to be effective leaders.

The transition is expected to take place in the coming weeks, according to the school system.

She earned her bachelor in business administration and a special education teacher certification from East Carolina. She also earned her master of school administration from East Carolina through the principal fellows program.

James will be succeeded by Jennifer Johnson, the current coordinator of the Health Sciences Academy, who initially introduced James to the Leader in Me program. James hopes that Johnson’s leadership background will create an easy transition.

“It’s full circle. It’s really interesting how it all happened, and I don’t think there’s anyone else in the difference that’s trained in Leader in Me besides her, so the way it all worked out is a blessing,” James said.

Like James, Johnson also has 11 years of experience in education. She earned her bachelor’s degree from ECU and her master‘s in teaching and post-master certificate in administration and supervision from Towson University in Towson, Md. Also like James, she was formerly the assistant principal at North Pitt.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the Stokes School community as their principal,” Johnson said. “I am excited about the work Mrs. James and her staff has done with the Leader In Me program and look forward to continuing the march toward ‘Lighthouse Status.’ I cannot thank Vidant Health Careers and the Health Sciences Academy Advisory Board enough for the opportunity to belong to such a special program. I am grateful for the relationships built and the experiences made as their coordinator.”

Tara Parker, who currently is the assistant principal at Farmville Central High School, will take over the coordinator position at the Health Sciences Academy. She spent time as the coordinator from 2009-2015, where she improved the student completion rate from 28.7 percent to 61.6 percent.

Parker has 18 years of educational experience, including stints at J.H. Rose High School, Ayden Middle School, Wahl-Coates Elementary and Sugg-Bundy Elementary.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from East Carolina University, her master in education and master in school administration from East Carolina University, and her doctorate in educational leadership from North Carolina State University.

“It is with tremendous excitement that I return to the Health Sciences Academy team,” Parker said. “My previous years with the Academy were rewarding both personally and professionally, and I am so fortunate to be able to return to a program where I am able to help students develop into young adults who are pursuing careers in health care.”

Contact Brian Wudkwych at bwudkwych@reflector.com or 252-329-9567 and follow @brianwudkwych on Twitter.

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