Big changes are coming to the Carrboro High School (CHS) administration this year.

Principal LaVerne Mattocks will become Executive Director of Secondary Schools and Students Services of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and Assistant Principal James Hopkins will take a principal position at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham.

“I will be able to support middle and high schools in all their curriculum and programming with a special emphasis on student services to include discipline and things related to official student records and student code of conduct,” said Mattocks on her new position. “This is the plausible next step to my career that’s dedicated to public education.”

Compared to her current job at CHS, Mattocks will support all principals in the CHCCS district as well as carry out the superintendent’s vision.

Mattocks believes that principals are central to the success of school and district initiatives, and she hopes to provide structures to support their work in her new position.

While Mattocks is excited for this new step in her public education career, she is also thankful for her time at CHS.

“I will really miss the closeness to students on a daily basis,” said Mattocks. “I think I’ve grown to understand our students and create a culture where students feel empowered and at ease to teach me.”

According to Mattocks, staff changes will proceed without disruption.

“It is normal to be anxious about change, but I would encourage people to know that the district is committed to CHS and they will get someone who is great for the school and who will continue to support and provide a safety net,” said Mattocks. “The heart of the school is in the people who are here…and if CHS has been this great place [for you], now it will be up to you to help protect it with all the change.”

As for Assistant Principal Hopkins, he is excited for his new leadership position at Lakewood Elementary in Durham.

“I’m looking forward to being back in there,” said Hopkins, who spent most of his professional career in Durham. “I think Durham is often overlooked when it comes to school districts that possess those systems and programs that are designed to improve student achievement.”

Hopkins hopes to bring about various changes to Lakewood.   

“I think that the students of Durham believe what their friends outside of Durham say about Durham. I want to help change that narrative in a way that all Durham students are proud to be educated in Durham,” said Hopkins. “Contrary to perceptions about the challenges in Durham, it is one of the most honest, forward thinking, eclectic and promising cities in the United States.”

“Most importantly I’m looking forward to working with the elementary school kids and inspiring confidence in their short term dreams,” said Hopkins about his new leadership position. “And [I’m looking forward to] making sure they are valued and are worth more than circumstances would otherwise tell them.”

While the transition to a new job can be bittersweet, both Mattocks and Hopkins are hopeful for the future and thankful for their time at CHS.

“I will miss the students. I’ll miss interacting with the students. I’ll miss asking them questions about life,” said Hopkins, reflecting on both his and Mattock’s admiration for the school. “And I’ll miss witnessing the school spirit that is ever so present.”

About Mireille Leone

Mireille, Chief Photographer, enjoys watching The Office every day of her life and sassing her friends.