New Principal Named For School Recovering From "Cash For Grades" Controversy

Wayne County Public Schools has named the new principal for Rosewood Middle School.

The school has been in the center of a controversy over a 'cash for grades' program approved by the former principal. Susie Shepherd announced her retirement this week.

The new principal will be Mary Kay James, who is currently the assistant principal at Greenwood Middle School. She will take over the position effective December 1.

Wayne County schools officials say James is veteran educator with more than 29 years experience.

According to a news release, James "began her career in 1980 as a high school English teacher in Belhaven. She came to Wayne County Public Schools in 1986 as an English teacher at Charles B. Aycock High School. While working for the district she has served as an English teacher, a school counselor, and an assistant principal. Mrs. James has a bachelor’s degree in English education from Elizabeth City State University, a master’s degree in counselor education from East Carolina University, and a master’s degree in school administration from East Carolina University."

School system officials say: "Mrs. James’ educational and administrative background reflects her character, experience, and leadership skills needed to effectively lead Rosewood Middle School. She looks forward to working with students, parents, staff, and the community in her new role.”



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The principal who allowed students to get extra grade credit in return for donations is no longer with the school.

Wayne County Schools say Susie Shepherd went on annual leave for the rest of the month and will retired December 1st.

Rosewood Middle School came under the national spotlight when word of the cash-for-grade program first surfaced. The school system killed the program earlier this week.

For $20 in donations to the school, families would get 20 test points. Students could then apply 10 credits to two tests of their choice.

Shepherd had been principal at Rosewood since 2008 and before that as assistant principal since 2003. She made $69,468 a year with 29 years as an educator.

The school system says Shepherd's resignation is voluntary. “I met with Mrs. Shepherd on Thursday as a part of a district investigation into why a recent fundraiser was approved at her school,” states Dr. Steven Taylor, Superintendent. “At that time she informed me of her decision to retire at the end of the month.”

Taylor says Shepherd indicated that she already had planned to retire at the end of the school year.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sally on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:49 AM
    When I was growing up, my family didn't have 20 dollars to spare. The principal's idea was ridiculous.
  • by Ashley on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM
    Okay I find that I think that the Cash for grades thing is not fair. But you have to understand that school is not easy for those of you who think that. I am right now in high school and I have to say the school system is not using the money wisely. At this point my school is saying that they dont have money for forks and spoons so we have sporks which dont pick up anything, so what good is that? Have any of you had to take the EOC or the EOG? Well if you dont pass that then you dont pass the class. Even if you made a 100 in the class and you fall that then you get to take 2 more times I think then if you still dont pass then you have to take it over again. I dont think the this person is "a waste of flesh" because honestly people have done far worse like I dont know rapest and murders. So please poeple give it a rest what she did really wasnt that bad.
  • by Phrogluvr Location: ENC on Nov 19, 2009 at 07:15 PM
    You have got to be kidding me! "Cash for grades"? And we wonder why there are so many people on welfare. This individual is a waste of flesh....
  • by Grades Location: nc on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:18 AM
    If the lowest grade we can give a child is a 50 or 60 then we should be on a 50 or 60 point grade scale so that the low students are not the only ones to benefit.
  • by Rick Location: Washington on Nov 17, 2009 at 08:33 PM
    Schools are underfunded because politicians lack the courage and skills to adjust taxes and monitor the management of funds. If you keep electing the same old marginal crop of good old boys and girls you will keep getting the same result. Wake up and make your party work for YOU not themselves. Get involved, recruit and support new talented leadership and remember next November. You have no one to blame but yourselves.
  • by Jim on Nov 17, 2009 at 04:28 PM
    Yep it seems pretty obvious why she got away with it!!!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 16, 2009 at 03:49 PM
    A 60 as a final grade. The last time I look a 60 was not a passing grade.
  • by Yes Anti-terrorist on Nov 16, 2009 at 03:47 PM
    That is exactly what I think. Sue me.
  • by Bikinibare Location: Wayne County on Nov 16, 2009 at 08:58 AM
    Laughing at Petes comment!
  • by Kristin on Nov 16, 2009 at 07:58 AM
    Buying grades is the dumbest thing I have EVER heard of. EVER! What in the world is it teaching these kids? NOTHING! Well... "I'm not gonna worry about studying for that test tomorrow. I'll just get mama to give me $20 and I'll be fine." What a load of crap! If the schools need money... stick with the fundraisers. Kids need to earn their grades. Thats all there is to it. QUIT HANDING EVERYTHING TO THEM. Because that sure as h*** aint preparing them for anything in the real world.
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