WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One month and three days after we requested an interview, New Hanover County School’s Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley agreed to an interview.
We started with concerns about Ashley High School and the teacher satisfaction survey that showed most of their teachers were unhappy.
“It’s not a thing where nothing is being done,” Markley said, “but in terms of measuring success it’s not a thing where I can flip a light switch and the light comes on. It’s a process. It takes time.”
Markley says it’s not just about the teacher surveys. He says improved academic numbers have weight, too. Teachers told us the academic numbers are up because they don’t want to let their students down. Those numbers, they say, do not reflect the respect they feel from the school’s administration.
“Well, I would say he’s met with some teachers over the summer,” Markley said of Ashley principal Jackson Norvell. “He had a large group of teachers in last week, and we’ll see what happens when (Norvell) returns.”
We were at that meeting; one where teachers voiced some of their concerns. None of the teachers coming out would speak with us on camera, but they did say the meeting went well. They said they weren’t talking to us, because they feared retribution, even if they were discussing good things.
“I would say if they have those concerns, they should come to us, and we’ll be happy to talk to them about their concerns,” Markley said. “But I’m not seeing the mass exodus of teachers that you’re speaking of.”
He says only three teachers have transferred out of Ashley this year. WWAY has been unable to independently confirm that number.
We asked if he was taking action on those survey results, specifically action toward Norvell.
“I mean that’s a down-the-road kind of question,” Markley said. “It is not a question you ask on the first day students come back in August.”
We asked New Hanover County Schools for information regarding exactly how many teachers have left all of the county’s high schools this year. We have been told we will get that information soon.