When Angela Pringle was introduced Wednesday as the new superintendent for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, she said she looked forward to working on behalf of children here.

“I hope to do the best we can do for children,” Pringle said during a press conference. “Our goal is certainly to have our children perform at high levels. That’s going to take us working with our teachers, our administrators and our community.”

Pringle, who grew up in Virginia, is currently the superintendent for the Richmond County School System in Augusta, Ga.

She will start her new job with WS/FCS on Sept. 3.

Malishai Woodbury, the chairwoman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education, said Wednesday that the board was excited about Pringle joining the school district.

“We know that this community will work with her to make sure that all of our students move forward,” Woodbury said.

She said that the school board had about 14 different qualities and characteristics in the new superintendent that the community wanted and the board agreed with, including a superintendent who had been a teacher.

“This community was looking for someone that was an educator from the ground up,” Woodbury said. “If you did not teach, have a principal or assistant principal experience, up to the superintendent position, this board was very clear about staying true to what our community asked us to look for to determine the next superintendent.”

On Friday, she stressed again that Pringle is the best choice for WS/FCS because she met all of the experiences and qualifications expressed by staff, students, community and board members.

“She has a proven track record of success as an education leader,” Woodbury said.

She added that the board will rely on Pringle to decide which projects will take priority.

“However, I am very concerned about the high concentration of failing schools in District 1,” Woodbury said.

Woodbury has said that Pringle impressed her by being cool and calm in everything she did.

“She has a way with handling business and just a calm spirit,” Woodbury said. “I said, ‘When things get hot and low and even in between, we can count on her to stay steady.’”

Lida Calvert-Hayes, a member of the school board, said Friday that the board saw a lot of candidates but what impressed her the most about Pringle was that she took the time to drive to every school in the school district, even if she wasn’t able to go inside all of them.

“I thought that really showed true dedication of wanting to be in our city,” Calvert-Hayes said.

She was also impressed, she said, by the fact that Pringle has visited the area and knows a lot about it, primarily because she has a daughter who graduated from Wake Forest University.

Calvert-Hayes said that WS/FCS really needs to pull its graduation rates up and Pringle has done that in the Richmond County School System.

“I was really interested in what did you do, what can you bring to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to be able to help us with that?” Calvert-Hayes said of the interview process with Pringle.

She said that Pringle has been involved with failing and turnaround schools.

“That is a main focus for us right now,” Calvert-Hayes said.

WS/FCS and RCSS

Pringle is taking the helm of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools at a time when it showed little growth for most of the district, based on North Carolina test scores for 2017-2018.

However, the state did make several changes to its accountability formula for that fiscal year because of the new federal government accountability standard, Every Student Succeeds Act. This made it difficult to compare previous years.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system has 54,105 students in 80 schools, according to the 2017-18 state report card for the school district. In overall performance, eight schools received an “A,” and there were 13 “B” schools, 19 “C” schools, 21 “D” schools and 11 “F” schools.

Cook Literacy Model School was one school that had an F but exceeded expected growth with a grade level proficiency score of 22.7, up seven points from its score in 2016-17.

Pringle is leaving a school district in historic Augusta, Ga. The Richmond County School System averages about 32,000 students in 56 schools.

According to a 2018 schools/district performance report from The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Georgia School Grades Report, RCSS received a “D,” or 68.3, rating, which is up from an “F,” or 57.9, score in 2016. The report showed that 52 percent of students were economically disadvantaged.

The report also showed that Richmond County’s overall performance is higher than 34 percent of districts in Georgia, 33.1 percent of its third grade students are reading at or above the grade level target, 49.5 percent of its eighth grade students are reading at or above the grade level target.

Its four-year graduation rate is 77.7 percent, which is higher than 4 percent of districts in Georgia.

The school district has eight low-performing schools.

“We’re proud of the fact that we’ve reduced the number of schools that need support from the department of education,” Pringle said. “We also, since 2014, had a 24 percent increase in our graduation rate. We went from 61.8 this past year to 78 and right now we are trending at just above 80 percent.”

She said that the school district has seen a lot of success at the elementary level in increased scores and expects to see similar success over the next two years in upper grade levels.

“We focus a lot on literacy at the elementary level,” she said.

Pringle also said that Richmond County has a good number of private schools.

“A great number of our children over the years matriculated to private schools,” she said. “We’re pulling some of them back but that does impact the socioeconomic makeup of the public school setting.”

She said that the school district over the last two years closed six schools and made other changes to better serve students and be more efficient.

“That has helped us save dollars and spend dollars in the right places, and we’ve been able to give our teachers raises and employees raises, actually for the last four years by being more efficient,” she said.

One similarity that Pringle has noticed in both Richmond County and Forsyth County is that there are a lot of interest in business partnerships.

“People in the community really want to engage in education, to really develop the workforce,” she said.

On Friday, Woodbury said that although the district Pringle is leaving is smaller, it has similar demographics of students as WS/FCS.

“According to Dr. Pringle, poverty is greater there than in WSFCS,” Woodbury said.

The board plans to schedule a meet and greet event with Pringle that will be open to the public.(tncms-asset)022f6d24-b984-11e9-a9e0-00163ec2aa770 —(/tncms-asset)

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

fdaniel@wsjournal.com 336-727-7366 @fdanielWSJ

Recommended for you

Load comments