Wayne School Board Announces New Principal, Administrative Changes

On Tuesday, the Wayne County Board of Education approved four administrative changes during a special called meeting.

Southern Wayne High
Kevin Smith, the principal of Spring Creek Middle, has been named the new principal of Southern Wayne High. He is replacing Dr. John Boldt, who retired at the end of the school year.

“Conversations with the Southern Wayne High staff and community leaders during the interviews earlier this month were centered, in large part, around the shared vision of ensuring students are prepared for life after high school,” states Mr Smith. “It was the passion and commitment of the interview committee that ultimately convinced me the school was the right fit for me. Absolutely nothing excites me more than the opportunity to work with a passionate and energetic team focused on building a brighter future for the students of Wayne County.”

Mr. Smith has 23 years of education experience and has served in his present role since 2015. Prior to being named the principal of Spring Creek Middle, he spent four years as the principal of Rosewood Middle, and four years as assistant principal of Spring Creek High. He also served as a teacher at Charles B. Aycock High and Norwayne Middle. Mr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in history from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a master’s degree in school administration from East Carolina University. Mr. Smith was named WCPS Principal of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year.

“I consider this a great opportunity for me and look forward to working with the students, staff, and community to fulfill our vision for Southern Wayne High School,” adds Mr. Smith. “Preparing students to be successful within a rich and diverse society requires a rigorous academic high school environment focused on college and career readiness. I know the fulfillment of this vision will be challenging and requires a multi-year pledge from all constituents. I believe that the school and community are ready to meet this challenge.”

Spring Creek Middle
Spring Creek Middle assistant principal, Cheryll Price was named Interim Principal of the school. Ms. Price has 27 years of education experience, and has served in her present role since the school opened in 2015. Ms. Price began her career education in 1990 as a teacher at Spring Creek Elementary. After 10 years, she began teaching at Carver Elementary. In 2010, she transitioned to school administration as the assistant principal of Rosewood Middle, where she spent the next five years before joining Spring Creek Middle. Ms. Price holds both a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in school administration from East Carolina University.

Dr. Carol Artis Promoted
Director of Elementary Education and School Improvement, Dr. Carol Artis, was named Executive Director of C&I and Federal Programs. Dr. Artis has served in her current role since 2013. Dr. Artis has 31 years education experience. In her current role, she has been a leader in the areas of early learning and literacy, and has worked to facilitate consistent quality programming in every WCPS elementary school. In addition to being involved in planning professional development for the district, she leads District Improvement and School Improvement planning. She will now oversee the district’s federal programs department and provide program evaluation to ensure resources and services provided to students are vetted and positively impact student growth.

“Dr. Artis is a leader in a department full of smart and highly skilled directors,” states Tamara Ishee, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. “What distinguishes her, and the reason we are promoting her to an Executive Director level position, is her total willingness and ability to take on new and challenging professional duties. She has top level skills in administration, training, and professional development in a multitude of curriculum areas. We have now added oversight and administration for the district’s Federal Programs to the large number of responsibilities she already shoulders in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. I am thrilled that our Board of Education sees and is willing to recognize Dr. Artis’s contribution to Wayne County Public Schools with this promotion.”

Prior to her transition to the WCPS Administrative Offices, Dr. Artis spent 11 years as principal of North Drive Elementary. She was also an assistant principal at North Drive Elementary, a curriculum facilitator at School Street Elementary, and a teacher at School Street Elementary. Before joining WCPS, she taught at Edwin A. Alderman Elementary School, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Dr. Artis holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a master’s degree in school administration and a master’s degree in education and curriculum from Campbell University. She holds a doctorate of educational leadership degree from Gardner Webb University.

Ken Derksen
Director of Communications/PIO, Ken Derksen, was named Communications and Public Relations Officer. Mr. Derksen has over 19 years television news and school public relations experience. Mr. Derksen joined WCPS in 2005 as Public Information Officer, was later named Director of Communications/PIO in 2012, and has served on the Superintendent’s Cabinet since spring of 2016. In his current role, Mr. Derksen oversees media relations, digital communications and social media tools, public information requests, WCPS Partners in Education Program, crisis communications, the district Print Shop, and the local cable education channel operation. Mr. Derksen has also been involved in grant writing. Over the past five years, he has helped WCPS capture over $5 million in STEM and school improvement grants. As his role is expanded to focus more on public relations, he will further expand communications and engagement initiatives developed through a five years strategic communications plan.

“This administrative change reflects my commitment, along with that of the Board of Education, to placing a greater level of emphasis on communication and engagement with our stakeholders,” states. Dr. Michael Dunsmore. “Mr. Derksen has proven himself to be a highly capable professional who has the communications and public relations experience, work ethic and vision necessary to help the district advance its efforts in the areas of information sharing, customer service, and public engagement.”

Prior to joining WCPS, Mr. Derksen served as a reporter for News 14 Carolina. He also served as a video journalist, assignment desk manager, and helicopter videographer for the three broadcast news outlets in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Derksen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a public relations concentration, a master’s degree in English with a technical and profession communications concentration, and a graduate certificate in community college instruction from East Carolina University. It is worth noting that Mr. Derksen has served on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina School Public Relations Association since 2014 and was recently elected to the office of secretary for the 2017-18 school year.

“These four school and district administrators have the experience, leadership skills, and passion necessary to move our schools forward,” adds Dr. Dunsmore. “All of the administrative changes will take effect immediately. My administrative cabinet looks forward to working with Mr. Smith and Ms. Price in their new roles and supporting them during this time of transition.”