Local News

New principal to head school that held donations-for-grades fundraiser

Posted November 15, 2009

— Wayne County Public Schools has named a replacement for a retiring principal who initiated a fundraiser in which students could get extra grade credits with donations.

Mary Kay James will take over on Dec. 1 when Susie Shepherd retires from her position as principal of Rosewood Middle School. James is currently an assistant principal at Greenwood Middle School.

"Mrs. James' educational and administrative background reflects her character, experience and leader ship skills needed to effectively lead Rosewood Middle School," said WCPS Superintendent Steven Taylor. "She looks forward to working with students, parents, staff and the community in her new role."

Shepherd authorized a fundraiser in which students who donated $20 would get 20 extra-credit points. Students could apply 10 points to two tests. In some cases, the points could boost a student's test score up a letter grade.

School system officials denounced the fundraiser and opened an investigation into it.

James has taught in public schools for 29 years and holds a bachelor's in English from Elizabeth State University and master's degrees in counselor education and school administration from East Carolina University. She joined WCPS as an English teacher at Charles B. Aycock High School and has also worked as a school counselor.


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  • Six String Nov 16, 2009

    Sometimes very good people make a bad judgment call. Retirement was a good option, no need to be so vindictive as to throw away many good years over one mistake. It was extremely poor judgment, though.

  • HappyGirl08 Nov 16, 2009

    Well clearly it was bad judgement. OH well...

  • alx Nov 16, 2009

    Why was this woman allowed to retire rather than losing her Job all together. It seems kind of obvious why that is but im sure the media will never give us the reason she was treated with kit gloves.

  • HopingForABetterWorld Nov 16, 2009

    phrostbite, she may be an extremely nice and helpful woman who made an isolated mistake. However, buying grades is a HUGE mistake, and her losing her job is the right thing. That is a no-brainer.

  • gator nation gal Nov 16, 2009

    I actually heard this story on NPR's "Wait, Wait, don't tell me" this weekend.

  • Phrostbite Nov 16, 2009

    I find it very hard to believe Mrs. Shepherd approved this. If she did it had to be with the best of intentions. When I was a student at Goldsboro High, she was extremely helpful in helping me apply for scholarships & college.