Mayo excited about West Bertie

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2008

KELFORD – Wayne Mayo is back at home, literally and figuratively.

The new principal of West Bertie Elementary School is literally back at home since he lives in the community the school serves. Figuratively Mayo returns to the place he loves n as chief administrator of a school.

“It feels great,” Mayo said of once again serving as a principal. “I know I can get my hands involved in an individual school and make sure children are getting what they need. I can focus on what’s best for West Bertie.”

Mayo served as principal of the former C.G. White Middle School and of Bertie High School before moving to central administration when C.G. White closed.

After two years serving as Curriculum Specialist for Math, Science, Media and Music and Beginning Teacher Coordinator, Mayo was offered the opportunity to return to a school as principal.

“(Bertie County Schools’ Superintendent) Dr. (Chip) Zullinger came to me and asked if I would be interested in going to West Bertie,” Mayo said. “I asked him when he wanted me to report to work.”

Mayo said he liked his work at the Central Office, but felt school-level administration was where he wanted to be. He was also pleased at the opportunity to go to West Bertie because he has served on the turnaround team for the school.

“I think change is good,” he said. “I am excited to get back to the school level.”

Having served at both the middle and high school levels, Mayo believes he is now getting to the area that will impact test scores in Bertie County in the future.

“Now I’m at the foundation,” Mayo said of the elementary school level. “To me, this is where we begin impacting the other schools.”

He will begin that work by adjusting the schedule at West Bertie to maximize class time.

“We want to make the best use of our time,” he said.

Mayo is also clear about what he expects as the educational leader of the school.

“I expect high time on task of my teachers,” he said, referring to having teachers spend most of their time teaching. “I expect teachers to be master teachers.

“I also want to catch children before they fall behind,” he said. “I want them identified early so we can get them the educational help they need.”

Mayo will also stress parental involvement.

“We need to keep parents informed,” he said. “There are two reasons. One, they need to know what is going on and two, we need their support.”

As part of getting parents involved, Mayo said he wants the school to return to being the focal point of the community.

“We want success from all of our children,” he said. “This school was a focal point of the community and we need it to be again.

“We have smart children here, children that can compete with anyone across the state,” he added.

The new principal said he wanted to see any children who had left West Bertie return to the school.

“I am asking parents who transferred their children out of West Bertie because of performance to bring them back,” he said. “We have some exciting things happening here.”

Mayo said he was looking at incentive programs to help in areas such as attendance and parental involvement.

He also said he was hoping to get parents involved in sprucing up the school, especially the exterior.

“We need to get our flower beds in order and to make this a welcoming place,” he said. “I believe the tone is set by the climate.

“You can tell the climate when you enter a building,” he continued. “We want to set a climate that is conducive to learning.”

Mayo began his career as a teacher, serving at Northampton County High School n West, Southwestern Middle School and Bertie High School.

He entered administration as an assistant principal at Southwestern Middle School where he served six months before being named principal of the alternative school. The next year Mayo spent at C.G. White before going to Bertie High School for a year. His last stint as a principal was back at C.G. White during the 2005-2006 academic year.

After graduating from Bertie High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Math at Elizabeth City State University and a Master’s Degree at East Carolina University. Mayo also has an associate degree in Biblical Studies from Triple C Bible Camp. He plans to enter a doctoral program in the spring of 2009.

Mayo said he is looking forward to being back in the western end of the county where he lives.

“I think it helps to be part of the community,” he said. “I have a vested interest in seeing these children succeed. I want them to do well just like they were my own.”

The community is also happy to have him back.

“I’m very happy to have him at West Bertie,” said Bertie Board of Education Vice Chairman Al Parker, who represents the western end of Bertie County. “We go back a long way. He taught my girls. He is a fair man to deal with.”

Parker said he was disappointed to see former West Bertie Assistant Principal William Peele leave (he is the principal of the Ninth Grade Academy), but was happy to have Mayo as the head of the school.

“If we were going to lose Mr. Peele, I’m glad we have Mr. Mayo,” he said. “He will do a good job. I believe the faculty will get along with him. He is eager to achieve, but he will do it in an elegant way.”