Will Chavis ‘16EDD loves everything about being principal of Enloe High School.
He loves working with others to solve challenges. He loves getting to know his students, and he loves helping them overcome adversity so they can thrive.
With passion like that, it should come as no surprise that Chavis, who earned his doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the NC State College of Education, was named 2018-2019 Wake County Principal of the Year in October.
But to Chavis, it was.
“I was shocked, honored and humbled.” he said. “It is truly an honor to be recognized by my peers, especially knowing that there are 187 incredible principals in the district doing courageous work for students each and every day.”
Chavis said the award really belongs to the entire Enloe High School community.
“It shows the hard work, the dedication and the passion…our teachers, staff and students have in order to make Enloe a very diverse, inclusive and academically rigorous school,” he said.
Less than a day after receiving the honor, students and staff organized a surprise celebration for him. Escorted by the school’s drumline, he walked through hallways filled with cheering students all the way to the football stadium, where he was recognized at the school’s homecoming pep rally.
Chavis’ parents even came in from Fayetteville to surprise him.
“It was a special moment I’ll never forget,” he said.
Chavis has served as Enloe High School’s principal since 2016. Under his leadership, the school’s graduation rate climbed to 92.6%, which was a 9.5 percentage point increase in two years. Over the same period of time, enrollment in Advanced Placement courses increased by 130% and suspensions decreased by nearly 40%.
Chavis credits the NC State College of Education with improving his leadership style.
“NC State strengthened my understanding of the complexities associated with leading a dynamic learning environment that focuses on teacher preparation, building instructional capacity, working collaboratively with stakeholders for continuous improvement, and identifying new and innovative ways to impact systemic and necessary change, which benefits all students,” Chavis said.
As principal, Chavis implemented teacher, student and parent equity teams to improve student experiences and outcomes.
“Our team of students and staff work tirelessly and deliberately to end inequities and disparities in education,” he said. “We also work to provide each of our 2,457 students with a personalized education, founded on high expectations and standards, love and empathy, and appreciation of students’ individual contributions, backgrounds and identities.”
To Chavis, it all comes back to being the type of principal who can open doors for the next generation
“Education for me is opportunity,” he said. “It’s the opportunity to learn content for which you may never have a desire to explore. It’s the opportunity to develop a child into their future selves. It’s the opportunity to transform and impact the world. It’s the opportunity for someone to be whatever they aspire to be. And education provides me the opportunity to help make that happen for my students.”