In 2012, Dr. AJ Muttillo walked into Leesville ready to provide stability to a school that had been through turmoil principal wise. In 2018, he left for the last time with experience and a more gray hair, but with memories to last a lifetime.
Dr. Muttillo received his college education in Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg University; he then received his masters from NC State and his Doctor of education degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Muttillo began his educational journey 17 years ago,, first as a teacher, then coach, testing coordinator, assistant principal, a principal and now assistant superintendent of human resources of Wake County. His jobs have taken him all over Wake County, from Wakefield High School to Martin Middle School.
Dr. Mark Savage, a former co-worker of Dr. Muttillo, met him in 2007. Dr. Savage was the Principal of Wakefield High School while Dr. Muttillo served as the Assistant Principal.
Throughout the years, Dr. Savage has worked with Dr. Muttillo in a multitude of situations, including district initiatives. “My impression of Dr. Muttillo has not changed since [the first time I met him]. He came across as a caring, hard-working and insightful leader. He was exceptionally kind and intuitive. In all the years since, my appreciation for him has only deepened,” said Savage via email.
Ms. Moore, a retired Leesville Assistant Principal, was deeply influenced by Dr. Muttillo. “The relationships started as one built on hard work and commitment to students. Through that work, we developed a level of trust and mutual respect that is important in any relationship: keeping confidence, honest and open discourse, being able to disagree, yet not take it personally, and working toward the same common goal,” said Moore over email.
Dr. Muttillo’s departure caused a lot of emotion among the staff and student body. For Ms. Moody, the goodbye was bittersweet. “I was excited for him, but saddened for the staff, students and community. He cared deeply for LRHS, as he did for WMMS, and goodbyes are not easy for him. I believe he led positive changes in both schools. He will be fantastic in Human Resources and will take with him the same level of thoughtfulness, work ethic, community and care for staff he displayed throughout his career in schools. He will be a class act wherever he goes in his career.”
HE WILL BE A CLASS ACT WHEREVER HE GOES IN HIS CAREER
Rebecca Dupree, a graduate of Leesville in 2016, had a close relationship with Dr. Muttillo when she attended. “I would 100% consider Dr. Muttillo and I friends, even though he was obviously our principal. I loved talking to him about whatever was going on at the school, and my favorite memory was probably when he and I matched during my senior spirit week as Boo and Sully for character dress up day,” said Dupree.
Dr. Muttillo is thriving in his new job. “I am enjoying the job a lot. I had an understanding of HR work from the school level, but I am learning a lot from the Central Services side. While I always felt like I was learning a lot as a principal every day, after 11 years as a secondary principal, much of what I learned was nuanced. The learning curve in this role has been enjoyably steep. After waking up for 21 years and reporting to a school, this has been a nice change for me,” said Muttillo regarding his new vocation over email.
Dr. Muttillo favorite part of the new job is the pace. “I will say that I also enjoy the pace. In my role, I do have to deal with some time-sensitive issues and questions on the fly. Much like I am used to as a high school principal, I have a calendar, but issues come up throughout the day that I have to juggle. I look forward to leading HR and making a positive difference at a district level,” said Dr. Muttillo.
While the Leesville community will miss Muttillo’s signature bowtie, we are excited for these new opportunities and look forward to seeing him again at graduation.