Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Magnet Principal Promoted Expanded Role Assists Schools in Region

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Magnet Principal Promoted Expanded Role Assists Schools in Region

Article excerpt

James Weldon Johnson Middle School had only 869 students in

1991 when it was converted into a gifted magnet.

Today, there are 1,100 students throughout Duval County who

attend the Northwest Jacksonville school, which is considered by

school officials to have one of the most successful magnet

programs in the county.

The school's turnaround can be traced to Principal Mary Brown,

whose broad experience helped transform the urban core school

that few wanted to attend into a powerhouse for academic

excellence, said Nancy Snyder, regional administrator for the

Duval County school system.

Now school officials want Brown to help do the same for 27

other elementary, middle and high schools.

Brown, who has nearly 12 years' experience as a principal, was

promoted this year to the post of regional administrative

assistant. In her new role, she will assist principals with

tasks they sometimes can't immediately address, such as

monitoring classes, conferencing with parents, settling

discipline problems and developing strategies to improve test

scores.

"I will help them with some of the unexpected problems," Brown

said. "Sometimes principals can't always do what they may have

planned because a parent or a student dropped by to talk. In

some situations, you cannot reschedule. I will be there as a

support."

She is one of two Northside principals who will have new jobs

in the fall. The other is Sheri Turchi, who will transfer from

Lola M. Culver Elementary to work as principal at Old Middleburg

Elementary.

Turchi did not return telephone calls for comment.

Brown will serve as one of the school system's five regional

administrative assistants. She will be based at the Team Center

on the Southside to work with schools on that side of town. …

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