On the morning of February 8, Principal Scott Lyons announced to the Leesville Road High School faculty, staff and students that he would be starting as principal of Enloe High School on March 1.
Over his three years at LRHS, Lyons has built for himself a fantastic reputation based on a history of friendly leadership, positive attitude and excellent job performance. Lyons is known for taking the time to speak directly to students, parents and teachers about issues promptly when they arise.
Lyons worked in education for 14 years before he began his tenure at Leesville. He has a rich background in Wake County’s magnet program from his histories at Enloe and Ligon. During his time at Enloe he was a teacher for four years and assistant principal for three. Lyons knew that he wanted to be a principal and made the decision to follow Wake County’s pathway: high school assistant principal, middle school principal, and then high school principal. Therefore, he applied to Ligon to gain leadership experience.
“I truly loved Ligon, but I have always seen myself as a high school person,” Lyons admitted. “ I like being part of the high school experience and all of the milestones that come with the high school age: athletics, prom, dances, graduation, and all of the clubs and organizations that are more available in high school than in middle.”
The news of his reassignment was poorly received by a vocal majority of students, as the graduating class of 2012 has been with Lyons since March of the 2008-09 school year when he replaced Dr. Gainey as principal. The biggest uproar from the news has been from seniors who want Lyons at their Senior Assembly and graduation. Already, petitions and emails have been drafted by students and parents in an effort to have their beloved ex-principal hand them their diplomas on graduation day.
“I would love nothing more than to help at graduation and be able to interact with the senior class,” said Lyons. “But I will definitely be there no matter what, even if I’m just sitting in the audience. I will support the new principal in any way possible.”
Students are also wondering what prompted Lyons’ move from Leesville to Enloe. As a magnet school, Enloe is expected to reach certain goals pertaining to the academic growth of their students across many diverse populations. Estimates for these goals are generated by test scores of the previous year as well as factors for each subgroup of student.
Though Enloe is known for its high achieving population and rich magnet program, Lyons explained the socio-economic factors that lie behind low averages. “There are many students that face challenges [at home] that academically gifted students might not,” Lyons explained.
Lyons was a good fit for Enloe due to his experience within the magnet programs for Wake County. His main goal at Enloe will be to reallocate the resources that a magnet program can provide to each type of student in a way that is beneficial to all populations. “Trying to accommodate for the needs of every student is tough. You can tailor different programs for a school, but they might not always be the best. Enloe needs to use their resources more strategically,” said Lyons.
Patricia Miller, counselor at Ligon Middle School, met Lyons when he was still working at LMS during the 2007-08 school year. As a magnet school faculty member, she agrees with Lyons’ move back to Enloe. “I think Mr. Lyons has proven his ability to lead a school effectively,” said Miller, who followed this by referencing his magnet background. “Mr. Lyons has developed lasting, genuine relationships with students, families, and faculty over the years so there is a trust established amongst people.”
Ligon reacted to Lyons’ announcement in 2008 that he would be taking a position at Leesville in much the same way as Leesville is now reacting to his move to Enloe. “It was a sad time to see him leave Ligon,” remembered Miller. “But we were all excited about his new opportunity…there was no doubt that he would do wonderful things at Leesville High School.”
Kevin Chauncey, senior, feels the same way four years later about Lyons new era at Enloe. “I love Mr. Lyons as our principal….but I know that Enloe needs him right now, and nobody is more fit for the job or could do what [Enloe] needs better than he can,” said Chauncey. “I’d like to wish him good luck, as I’m sure all of the seniors do.”
Not all students reacted in such a mature way, however. On the night of Mr. Lyons’ announcement to the school, Facebook and Twitter feeds alike were strewn with confusion and negative energy towards Enloe, and sadness at the thought of losing a principal.
Sydney Gerber, one of the many who partook in lamenting the loss of Lyons, commented on one farewell Facebook status in Lyons’ honor “He’s not Mr. Eagles for a reason.” Lyons’ last name was a popular joke during his first months here because of its phonetic similarity to the Leesville mascot.
As he leaves, Lyons recalls memories both strange and pleasant from his time at Leesville. “In my first couple of months at Leesville, I was walking past the forensics room, and there were (what looked like) blood spatters all over the walls and floors, and students examining them and taking notes. It was so startling to see, I thought that something had happened and wondered if I should call 911.”
Lyons also remembers the infamous incident of the 2010-11 school year, when Millbrook students vandalized the Leesville campus before the football game that evening. Though negative, Lyons claims that this event is his favorite memory from his time at Leesville. “Instead of being angry and negative, everyone in the community and school banded together positively to clean up the mess, and pretend like nothing had happened by the time the game started,” Lyons said with a smile.
“I have been very welcomed into this community and love interacting with staff and students,” Lyons began about his mixed emotions regarding his relocation. “But with every change comes the excitement of a new challenge.”
Lyons will undoubtedly be very missed by everyone who has been involved in the Leesville community since he first entered our halls in 2009. We will miss his smiling face in the doorways to our classrooms, his cheerful voice on morning announcements, and the squeak of his green and blue Pride sneakers in the halls.