New Ardrey Kell principal has plan to tackle racial division at school

New Ardrey Kell High School Has Plan to Tackle Racial Division at School

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's a new principal at Ardrey Kell High School this school year.

Jamie Brooks takes over at a time when there have been multiple racial incidents that have happened at the school since the school opened 10 years ago.

Brooks says she is up for the assignment.

She has been with Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District since 1994 and recently was principal at Community House Middle School.

Brooks says she has received training on Dismantling Racism and Diversity and Inclusion. The new principal says she will use that specific training to help make things better at the school.

Brooks says she will set up task forces involving parents and students to come up with solutions to help make all students feel welcomed. She said to address the concerns - the school will mix a little of the old with new programs.

“There are some different organizations that have been implemented,” Brooks said. “And some are newer organizations for student voice that will continue - so there are definitely some things that started and we are going to build upon those and go to the next level with those initiatives.”

Brooks has been on the job for two weeks and has already addressed her staff about her expectations. She says one of the biggest challenges is having change start with the staff.

“Getting each and every one of the adults first to really look at themselves,” Brooks said. “Peel back the onion and identify their own implicit biases and recognize that racism doesn’t necessarily mean overt actions of hate -that it can be those micro-aggression that are built in the system that has to be addressed.”

The new principal says dealing with students is the next challenge. She says when students return to school to pick up packets - inside will be spelled out what is expected.

“There will also be a student accountability checklist,” Brooks said. “Which every student will have to complete and made aware of all of the school policies.”

She also said that messages about racial healing will be visible on the school website and she will send out a video message of her expectations. The new principal says she will address students who cross the line.

“Jamie Brooks is fair,” she said. “She is consistent. She is transparent - will every situation that is brought to me be handled - you better believe it - But will I tell what the consequence will be - No - because every situation is different and has a different story behind it and you have to listen to the entire story.”

David Switzer is the former Ardrey Kell High School principal. Brooks says she has talked to Switzer since her appointment. She says her goal was to be the principal at Ardrey Kell High School.

“We talked about the fact that this may not have been the way one of us would have wanted,” Brooks said. “But I support him and he supports me and we’re there for each other.”

Brooks says her goal at the school is to make sure there is racial harmony reflected in all classrooms, clubs and curriculum.

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