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In preparation for the opening of a new high school in August, Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education has named a new principal for the upper grades, Glenn Reaves.
A veteran Wilson County educator and administrator, Reaves will be principal for sixth through 12th grade and have an office in the soon-to-be opened Sallie B. Howard High School for the Arts and Science.
“I have been in Wilson since 1984, so I feel like Wilson is home now,” said Reaves, who grew up in Henderson.
Sandeep Aggarwal, assistant director at SBH, said the school’s administrative hierarchy has been restructured in advance of the new high school’s opening in August.
Pratibha Lakhani, who has been at SBH since 2006, will be the new K-5 principal.
Reaves, an East Carolina University graduate, began his career at Fike High School as a coach and teacher in 1984. He has served as assistant principal at Goldsboro and Toisnot middle schools. He’s been principal at Springfield Middle School and Beddingfield High School. He was assistant superintendent of Craven County Schools and a former Wilson County Board of Education member.
“He brings a great specialty in the high school domain,” Aggarwal said. “He has recently worked in the middle school domain as well, so he is very familiar with the operation of the middle school and high school.”
Lakhani started out as an SBH middle school science teacher.
“She produced excellent results in her classroom year after year,” Aggarwal said. “Then she became the instructional coach, and then she became dean of instruction, and then finally she was the director of curriculum and instruction for the entire school. Now we have a great opportunity to have her take on the K-5 role and have Mr. Reaves take on the 6-12 role.
Aggarwal said it would have been impossible for one administrator to handle grades K-12 at the 1,000-student school.
“That is why we have restructured in such a way that we have two great instructional leaders,” Aggarwal said.
“Instructionally, Ms. Lakhani is very strong. She is a great instructional leader. She has helped us to reach the school report card grade of B in the last three years consistently,” Aggarwal said. “Mr. Reaves brings tremendous wealth of experience and expertise of different levels in the school system from being a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent; so the range is great. They have met, and they gel well together. They have great respect for each other.”
Both Lakhani and Reaves hold master’s degrees from ECU.
Reaves said one of his missions is to raise the school’s report card from a B to an A.
Reaves said the key to being a successful principal is “being student-centered, always keeping students first in your decision-making.”
“Probably one of the most crucial roles that a principal does is hiring good-quality teachers to put in front of the kids,” Reaves said.
Reaves said he hopes to have consistency in his approach and create an atmosphere of high expectations for everybody in the building.
Aggarwal said school founder JoAnne Woodard’s role will remain the same. The charter school started in 1997.
“She is the executive director. I will be the assistant director. Then we will have the principals, and then the entire staff is being supervised by these two principals,” Aggarwal said. The school currently has a staff of about 110.
“We are very delighted and excited to have Glenn Reaves, a very effective principal for many years in Wilson County, well known, well loved, highly regarded, we could not do better, just very happy to have him,” Woodard said.
Aggarwal said the structure of the new high school is almost done.
“Everything is good to go,” Aggarwal said. “We are hoping for a February completion and a March move-in, provided the city gives us the go- ahead. There are a lot of factors like weather that play a role, but it looks like we are on schedule that March will be when the buildings will be available for us to use.”
The school is slated to begin its first year as a high school in August.
“However, before that, we will start using the building with some classes, some arts classes, some dance rooms and places like that,” Aggarwal said.