Local News

Former Hillside High principal dead at 51

Posted January 20, 2010

— Former Hillside High School principal Earl Pappy, 51, died over the weekend, according to current Principal Hans Lassiter.

The cause of his death was not released. Pappy resigned as principal last June. At the time, school officials declined to elaborate on the move, citing personnel privacy rules.

Durham Public Schools hired him in 2006 after he spent four years as a high school principal in Richmond, Va.

He had improved student performance in Richmond, and Durham officials said they saw his no-nonsense, goal-oriented approach as the path to improving Hillside High.

A state judge has threatened for years to shut down the Durham school because of poor student performance.


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  • SisterChristian Jan 21, 2010

    I graduated with Earl Pappy from Garner Senior High School in 1977 and we grew up together in Garner. Earl was one of my favorite friends, always stood out with those gorgeous eyes, wit and that great sense of humor. I was so saddened to hear of his passing yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He was a wonderful mentor and principal for the young people and touched many lives. WE LOVE YOU EARL - ALWAYS IN OUR HEART - TIL WE MEET AGAIN.

  • Nana4lou Jan 21, 2010

    I think Earl Pappy grad from Garner 1977. I went to school with him. He was a really nice guy. He had the best since of humor I remember. Was friends with everybody.

  • miseem Jan 20, 2010

    Death Row seems to be fuzzy on a lot of facts. Just seems to have a lot of opinions.

  • valginaliz Jan 20, 2010

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. My daughter was a student there while he was there. He was a wonderful person. Alot of kids loved him. He treated them like his own child. He will truely be missed.

  • AC Man Jan 20, 2010

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. (so young)

  • tarheelbabe Jan 20, 2010


    He was not nominated by President Obama for anything.
    As the above article states no reason was given for his departure.
    Also he was not the Principal of Hillside when the State threatened to take them over.
    He came in to turn the school around just as he had done at a previous school and I feel that he made great strides while leading Hillside.
    May God comfront those who is mouring the death of Mr Pappy!
    May may God continue to bless the current principal of Hillside Mr. Lassiter!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 20, 2010

    I thought this guy resigned because Obama wanted him as some sort of Education Czar. Or was that someone else from Durham? Just remember it being funny/strange that Obama selected someone from a school system that is struggling.

  • 007KnightRider Jan 20, 2010

    So sad! My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • Seenenuff Jan 20, 2010

    Wow. What a shock. Condolences to the family.