North Carolina's experimental Innovative School District will open soon and now has a director for its first school. Community leaders in Lumberton gathered Thursday to meet Southside-Ashpole Elementary's new director Bruce Major. The public school will re-open in August under its new management.
The state is turning over operation of the struggling Robeson County school to a charter school operator in hopes of turning around student performance. That operator, Achievement for All Children, worked with the district's superintendent Eric Hall to select the school's head administrator. Hall says Major has a strong background in working with disadvantaged students.
“In addition to his impressive depth of education experience, what makes Mr. Major such a great fit for Southside Ashpole is his expertise in school start-up and reform, school psychology, teacher development and curriculum and instruction design," Hall said.
Major just arrived home to North Carolina this week, after spending four years as an administrator at two international schools in China. He also has 12 years experience as an administrator and school psychologist at Sugar Creek Charter School in Charlotte. A spokesman for the Innovative School District says Major was instrumental in turning around student achievement at Sugar Creek and worked on start-up operations at Ameson American High School and the Wahaha Schools in China.
Major holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina, with a focus in child psychology and African-American studies, and a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Gardner Webb.
Major will be in charge of day-to-day operations at the elementary school, which serves a high percentage of minority and disadvantaged students. He will take over the reins as head administrator later this week.