New Patrick Henry High School Principal Anthony Frazier said he was sure he’d missed his chance at the job.
Frazier said he started to apply when the position opened in May but didn’t finish, assuming the school would have a new principal by the time he submitted his application.
“I just knew somebody would beat me to the punch,” he said.
When he realized the position was still advertised a month later, he said he called human resources and “got the ball rolling.”
On Tuesday, the Roanoke School Board approved Frazier’s hiring along with other administrative changes through a 6-0 vote. Board member Lutheria Smith was absent from the meeting.
Frazier, 55, most recently served as graduation coordinator for Newport News Public Schools. He previously served as principal of Warwick High School for four years. He’s spent his entire 28 years in education with the Newport News school system. Frazier is also retired from the U.S. Army.
Frazier’s wife, Bonita Frazier, will teach English at William Fleming High. Frazier said he and his wife were drawn to Roanoke because most of her mother’s side of the family lives here.
He said the school’s accreditation status and high marks, along with its success in music and athletics are also impressive.
Frazier replaces Kathy Duncan, who announced in early May she planned to return to her previous jobs, with the school division — principal of the Roanoke Technical Education Center and director of career and technical education. Duncan had served as principal at Patrick Henry High for one year.
Superintendent Rita Bishop announced Frazier’s hiring, and said he will appear at a meet and greet open to the public at 5:30 p.m. July 17 in the front atrium at Patrick Henry.
Bishop conducted multiple interviews for the position. One candidate was Jay Lancaster, principal of George Washington High in Danville. On June 10, Lancaster spoke to Patrick Henry High parents, teachers, local officials and other members of the community at a public forum organized by the school division.
Bishop told The Roanoke Times Tuesday Lancaster was not the right fit for the job. “We think he’s a fabulous person, we just didn’t think it was our best match,” Bishop said.
Frazier said he’s excited to complete his move to the area and begin working. He said he’s aware of some areas in need of improvement at the school but wants to learn more from faculty on the school’s needs.
“If you have a school that’s fully accredited with leadership changing, that typically means there’s a good faculty and good kids there,” Frazier said. “I do believe in a strong culture and climate. I believe in student empowerment and teachers having a voice in the decision making, and parents having a voice.”
Patrick Henry also gained new assistant principals Tuesday night. Chester Smith, Todd Reichert and Joseph Booan will join returning administrators Tracey Lange and Karen Leslie.
The board approved the hiring of two other new principals.
Andy Wheeling was hired to lead Lucy Addison Middle School. Johnay Lee and Jonathan Rosser will serve as assistant principals at Lucy Addison.
Katherine Duncan, a former assistant principal at James Madison Middle, is the new principal of Round Hill Elementary.
In other business, the school board appointed member Mark Cathey as board chairman, and Smith as vice chairwoman.