New Hanover County Schools shakes up administration staff, including Isaac Bear and Hoggard

Isaac Bear Principal MaryPaul Beall will 'swap' positions with John T. Hoggard High School Principal Steve Sullivan. (Port City Daily photo | File)
Isaac Bear Principal MaryPaul Beall will ‘swap’ positions with John T. Hoggard High School Principal Steve Sullivan. (Port City Daily photo | File)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY—A dozen top administrators will be relocated by the New Hanover County School system.

According to Spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum, seven principals and five assistant principals through the New Hanover County School (NHCS) system have been reassigned.

The new assignments include three “swaps.”


According to Quattlebaum, the following sets of principals will be swapped.

  • MaryPaul Beall, former principal of Isaac Bear Early College High School, will become the new principal of Hoggard High School. Dr. Steve Sullivan, former principal of Hoggard, will become the new principal of Isaac Bear.
  • Rachel Greer, former principal of Johnson Pre-K, will become the new principal of the College Road Early Childhood Center (CRECC). Karen McCarty, former principal of CRECC, will become the new principal of Johnson Pre-K.
  • Susan Sellers, former principal of Rachel Freeman Elementary School of Engineering, will become the new principal of Codington Elementary School. Dionne Sturdivant, former principal of Howe Pre-K, will become the new principal of Freeman.

Quattlebaum said the school could not comment on personnel issues, including why these principals, including Sullivan, who has been the Hoggard principal for five years, were reassigned.

“Based on state law, we are not allowed to discuss personnel matters, but I can tell you that the superintendent is authorized to make staff changes such as this to address the needs of the district,” Quattlebaum said.

Isaac Bear became the center of controversy when longtime teacher Michael Earl Kelly was arrested on numerous charges, including child pornography and having sexual relationships with students. Beall has been principal at Isaac Bear since July of 2015, however, charges against Kelly include incidents dating back to at least 2013, when Phillip Sutton was principal.

NHCS Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley commented on the Isaac Bear and Hoggard swap, saying the reassignment had “nothing to do with the Michael Kelly situation.”

Sullivan, who will replace Beall at Isaac Bear, has also faced some controversy. He was named as part of a federal complaint about how Hoggard and NHCS administrators handled the sexual assault of Sarah Johnson, who attended Hoggard at the same time as her assailant did.

That complaint led to a federal investigation, which is still ongoing; it is one of five active cases being investigated by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which is also monitoring three additional cases.

Other new assignments

Quattlebaum noted that NHCS expected several additional new assignments, due to transfers, retirements, and resignations.

Some additional reassignments mentioned by Quattlebaum include:

  • Stephanie Cole, formerly an assistant principal at Ashley High School, has been reassigned to Lake Forest Academy.
  • Kim Clark, formerly an assistant principal at Murray Middle School, has been reassigned to Williston Middle School.
  • Kenneth Davis, formerly an assistant principal at Virgo Preparatory Academy, has been reassigned to Ashley.
  • Michelle Kornegay, formerly an assistant principal at Virgo, has been reassigned to Ashley.
  • Brad Lewis, formerly an assistant principal at Williston Middle School, has been reassigned to Hoggard.
  • Eric Pfirman, formerly principal at Codington Elementary School, has been reassigned to Howe and Johnson Pre-K Centers, where he will serve as assistant principal.

Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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