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Wood County Christian changes campus

North Christian gets new principal

March 4, 2011

PARKERSBURG - North Christian School will be getting a new principal at the end of the current school year.

Susan Gracey Naylor, a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching winner, was hired as the school's new principal after the resignation of Wes Erwin, whose final day was Dec. 22.

Naylor, 57, is a teacher coach for Wood County Schools. She will be retiring from that post June 30. She will officially take the principal's position at North Christian School at the end of the current school year.

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Robert Smith, principal at Wood County Christian, noted changes in the academic schedule, campus facilities improvements and arts and music as well as sports programs as highlights over the past year.

"I've been working during the day for Wood County Schools and then in the evening going to North Christian," she said.

Naylor, a 33-year veteran of Wood County Schools, said she decided in November to retire from the public school system.

"My plan was I was going to retire and then volunteer at North Christian," she said. "God's plan was much bigger than that."

Naylor has been a longtime member of North Parkersburg Baptist Church. Shortly after her decision to retire, she was offered the principal's position at North Christian. For her, the decision became one of faith.

"I feel like when I look back over my professional career, I can see how God has put together the foundation for me to come to this point," she said. "It is an act of obedience for me.

"This is going to give me an opportunity to blend my spiritual life and my professional life," she said. "I've always tried to live my faith as a role model, but I couldn't really teach it. I'm excited for the opportunity to be a spiritual leader for the school as well as an instructional leader," she said.

Naylor said she has established four goals for herself as principal: to promote a Christian learning environment; to establish professional learning communities within the school; to use test data and the school's curriculum to establish goals for the staff; and to work on her own abilities as an administrator.

During the transition time between Naylor's current responsibilities with Wood County Schools and her becoming the full-time principal at North Christian this spring, several existing staff members have taken over the day-to-day running of the school, she said.

North Christian School is located at 3109 Emerson Ave. in Parkersburg. For more information on the school, visit North Christian's website at

Wood County Christian School in Williamstown saw academic and curriculum changes this past year.

Robert Smith, principal at Wood County Christian, noted changes in the academic schedule, campus facilities improvements and arts and music as well as sports programs as highlights over the past year.

"We made an important change in our academic schedule which is working out very well for us. For the first time, we've gone to an eight-period day, and it provides us with more flexibility and helps us keep up with the demands of high school requirements," Smith said. "The change has also enabled us to add some things onto the schedule, small group meetings, fine arts preparation. It's been a blessing."

"We've also done some campus improvements, we have a paved driveway for the first time coming onto the school campus, we generated funds for part of that and will try to do more in the spring," he said.

"We also developed a new face to the elementary building including covered walkways which makes drop-off and pickup more convenient and means more safety for the students," Smith said. "The revised traffic flow improved this fall and that's helped with a smooth transition and safety as well."

Smith noted new audio visual equipment and science equipment as other pluses for the past year.

"We added an anatomy class for grades 11 and 12. We reviewed science last year and made a complete change at the elementary level to improve our textbooks and help with the elementary curriculum. The staff is now studying math elementary curriculum to upgrade to make sure we have the best materials for our students," Smith said.

Smith noted accomplishments of the various sports teams and said more students are signing up for music classes with the new band room.

"The longer school day will also help with that by allowing us more time for preparation for competitions for music, art, speech, drama. We participate in state competitions in the spring in fine arts and academics," Smith said.

Enrollment at the school is holding steady. The open house for kindergarten is scheduled for February.

Another highlight this year was improvements in the school's website.

"It's more user friendly and more informative," Smith said.



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