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New WSPA principal ready to lead new charge ‘to a new day’

New WSPA principal ready to lead new charge ‘to a new day’
August 17
05:00 2017

When the principal position at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy became vacant earlier this summer, Reggie Hunt knew it was the job for him. Hunt, who was previously the assistant principal at Hanes Magnet Middle School, said his eyes lit up when he found out the position was open.

“After my first year at Hanes, I said I think I’m ready to be a principal. I worked for some great principals during my short time as an assistant principal. I said I’m going to shoot my shot,” laughed Hunt. 

Hunt initially intended to go to law school after finishing his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College but instead he returned to his alma mater, Parkland High School, as an English teacher and junior varsity basketball coach in 2003. He said he was still trying to find himself in those early years, but you soon realized he had the uncanny ability to impact students who were considered “at risk.”

After spending some time in the Wake County School District, Hunt returned to the local school district in 2008 as a teacher at Carver High School. Faced with numbers that showed only 23 percent of his students would pass the English II exam in 2009, Hunt helped proved his students were better than their projected scores and 72 percent of his students passed. Hunt said that’s when he became obsessed with helping at-risk youth get past the EOG (End-of-Grade).

“I had classes full of three-time repeaters, those who the data said couldn’t do it. It was at Carver that I really turned the corner and realized that I really wanted to make education my future going forward,” he said. “I realized I know how to get kids to pass this test, so I know how to affect the school’s bottom line when it comes to proficiency.”

Soon thereafter, Hunt decided he wanted to impact students on a larger scale, so he went back to school for school administration. After graduating from N.C. A&T State University in 2013, Hunt started working for Star3, a federal teacher incentive grant fund, as a teach observer. Hunt’s first assistant principal job was at Lexington Senior High School. He mentioned Principal Monique Curry gave him a lot of freedom to test his ideas to help change the culture of the school. Last year Hunt worked as an assistant principal at Hanes Magnet Middle School.

As the incoming principal at WSPA, Hunt said his vision is to change the perception that the surrounding community has of the school. He wants WSPA to be a place where families send their children in the sixth grade and know they’re going to be taken care of all the way until the 12th  grade.

“They will have the opportunity to be a part of a family and a network and never have to leave the building for six years. That’s rare. You probably can’t get that anywhere else in the district.”

Along with remarketing the school, Hunt says he plans to be present in the elementary schools all year long to speak with the students about the opportunities at WSPA. This school year Hunt will also rely on the service of Student Service Ambassadors to help spread the good word about the school as well.

“My hope is that a young fifth-grader says to their guardian when they go home, ‘I want to go to Winston-Salem Prep,’” said Hunt. “We’re going to beat the street to get the word out that this has always been a place that students can come and flourish.”

“We need to get the community excited about coming to Winston-Salem Prep.”

Hunt mentioned the school has also re-established its relationship with Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and he hopes to grow attendance numbers in the future. He said he has opened his doors to WSSU education to students to do their field study at the school. Although the sign outside the brick school building on Cameron Avenue may read Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, Hunt said, he wants the school to be staple in the community like the old Atkins High School, which was located at the site.

“My father graduated from this school in 1966, so I’ve heard stories my entire life about how great Atkins was. It was a community and the students knew the adults in the school loved them,” said Hunt. “And I want the community to know that has not changed. We still have that same set up here. We’re small in number but we have a lot of pride.”

He said, “Growing up in East Winston, it just feels good to be a principal in my community.”

While sitting in his new office, Hunt said although no one will ever replace longtime WSPA principal Richard Watt, he will build on what he started.

“His vision is still in place and he will be principal emeritus as long as I’m here. I don’t feel the need that I’m replacing him. I’m just leading the charge to a new day at Prep.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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