Friday, April 12, 2013

Spivey's retirement message

Myers Park High Principal Tom Spivey told families Friday he will retire from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools this summer. Here's his message:
Letter from Principal Tom Spivey

MPHS Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement effective July 1, 2013. This has been an extremely difficult decision preceded by much soul-searching. It is extremely hard to leave a school system that has been so much of my life the past 47 years - 34 years as an educator. Selfishly, I would love to remain at MPHS on a year to year basis but ultimately must address what is in the best interest of the school.

A number of circumstances, both personal and job related, have changed over the past few weeks which impacted my decision. Until recently, we had anticipated all new construction to be completed next year and I was more than willing to lead the school during that challenging process. The new two year timetable makes the project much easier to supervise and more beneficial for new leadership to manage. The new principal will also be able to coordinate the development of the new 3 year School Improvement Plan which is to be developed and implemented this fall.

I can't express the joy and satisfaction experienced at MPHS and will always have such fond memories of my time here. While extremely proud of all our accomplishments the past 8 years, I am equally proud of how we approached the challenges.

Our focus on the success of all students led to many new programs, a more child centered campus and a four year graduation rate that recently surpassed 90%. Budget reductions which cut 20% of our teachers, 40% of our administrative team, and 50% of the security force were met as an opportunity for change and school improvement. Despite larger class sizes and more expectations of staff, test scores continued to excel, student safety improved and not one student program was lost. The unexpected decision to move our IB feeder program was a major setback at the time. Losing 400 top students would devastate many schools and academic programs. Instead, parents and staff worked together to revisit our program and we currently have more students in our IB program than before the board change. Students that would not have participated in AP/IB level classes before the change accepted the challenge of more rigorous coursework and are finding success. AP/IB numbers will only increase as we add a variety of new academic options over the next two years.

It would take pages to list all the accomplishments of our students and teachers. Test scores are strong, retention rates have dropped, graduation rates have increased, and student participation in clubs and activities continues to rise. Athletics are consistently rated among the best in North Carolina. Academic teams continue to win state, national, and world competitions and have dominated the NC Scholastic Cup since inception. The Arts excel and our Debate and CTE programs continue to bring accolades to the school. The school is well respected locally and nationally but more importantly, students are well-prepared for life after Myers Park.  

We are now at a good point of transition. The budget is gradually improving with new projections adding teachers and an administrator, IB and AP numbers are growing, construction is proceeding with clear transition plans in place- including a new proposal for a 50 classroom building behind the LA Building, resources (including CIS) for our most at-risk students/neighborhoods are growing and parent/community support for MPHS is strong. An excellent nucleus of teachers and support staff is in place and we have the privilege to work with a wonderful group of students each day.

I don't know what the next step in life holds but know that another door will open. I have not looked beyond Myers Park and can assure you that my focus remains strong as there is a lot to accomplish over the next three months.  I can assure you that everything will be in order when I depart. There is also a lot of work at home that I have neglected the past 25 years that will keep me, a decorator, an architect, and a contractor busy for several months. After that, I am open to wherever led although MPHS will always be home.

Over the next quarter, I will be developing transition plans to address where we have been, our present course as a school and the challenges/opportunities that lie ahead.

Thanks for your continued support.

Thomas L. Spivey
Myers Park High School


Anonymous said...

Ahhhh finally

Anonymous said...

Can I get a hell yeah

Anonymous said...

Mr. Spivey did NOTHING to help the IB program when it was under attack by Tom Tate, Tim Morgan, Eric Davis, et al. Let's hope that Dr. Morrison brings in a leader who understands the IB program and the complexities of a school that is both at-risk and privileged.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:21 AM

You know absolutely nothing about the situation. You have no idea how settled the issue was before it even came up. Eric Davis wasn't even on the board when they voted to remove it. Mr. Spivey has worked as an IB Principal for more than 25 years. Absolute ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Your wrong... Eric Davis and Trent merchant both orchestrated the whole issue. Your Ignorant

Anonymous said...

Your? Yore? You're? Punctuation? Ignorance?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Spivey was a great man contrary to what is written here. Though the IB program did lose its footing under his leadership, it did not fail, and he brought it back to prominence without debate. How do I know this? Because I graduated in from Myers Park in 2011. I know from firsthand experience all of the work that this man put into his job every day. Parents might believe otherwise, but they did not interact with him on a daily basis. Thank you Mr. Spivey for your work at Myers Park and all that you did for all of us Mustangs! I will miss your presence on the campus when I return on my yearly visit.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Spivey was an "ok" guy in a sense; I'll say (like most "busineses") if you did things to uplift MPHS, then you were in his good graces, if not....I used to teach at MPHS for 5 years of his tenure. He was visibile more than other Pricipals, but then again, not as much as others. I'm not sure what other people are saying about him not caring about the IB program. That was his baby and the only thing that kept MPHS on the "snooty" side of the fence. Did they bus in "focus students" yea sure.....but I know first hand they kept them isolated from each other exept the few focus students that weren't afraid to be smart (apparently thats not cool be smart). That's all I'll say about it....Mr. Spivey will be WELL compensated going into his retirement lol.

Side note: if anyone takes offense to my "focus students" line I am black lol and its not that serious. Just making an observation.

Anonymous said...

Tom never talked. Who knows what his thoughts were? LOL!

L. Price said...

Tom never was a good principal.
He thought he was a God....
Please get this off of the CO..
Tired of seeing his retirement..... announcement

L. Price said...

Please get this off..Tom never did anything to help anyone.
In fact he made matters worse for most students.
Tired of seeing his retirement status and we all know he is retiring by now.
Get it out of the CO.......

Anonymous said...

I was not a student of Tom Spivey at MPHS, however, I was a student of his years ago at Piedmont Open Middle School. He was the type of principle that would walk through the halls between classes so students saw him. To me, this was a good thing to do. He communicated with students, listened to students if they had any issues, and from what I could tell, was respected by the current teachers. Admittedly, I ended up in his office on a couple of occasions and instead of throwing the book at me, he would instead give guidance. I thought Tom Spivey was a class act. He understood his roll as a principle and he took it seriously. It also seemed like he had the students best interest at the top of his priority list. I suppose everyone is entitled to there own opinion, but I'm not sure how you could say something bad about this guy.
Happy Retirement Mr. Spivey.