Passing the baton: a Q&A with interim principal Albert Royster

The Pirates’ Hook (PH): Are you originally from Durham? 

Albert Royster (AR): No, I am originally from Burlington, NC which is about 50 minutes west of Durham

PH: What is something about you that students would find interesting? 

AR: I was a track & field athlete where I was an NCAA Division I All-American, a professional athlete in track & field where I ran for Nike and was ranked in the top 10 in the US for two years while I competed.

PH: What was your job before you stepped in as Riverside’s interim principal? 

AR: This is my third year working in Durham Public Schools, and I am still currently work in the district office as one of the DPS Director of Student Services; that job has been put on hold while I was the interim principal at Riverside

PH: Have you been a principal before? If so, where? 

AR: Yes, I was a middle school principal at Reidsville Middle School for two years and then a high school principal for six years at Morehead High School

PH: What’s it like being Riverside’s interim principal? 

AR: It was both rewarding and challenging.  I do miss being a principal, and it was rewarding to lead Riverside for the last two months until Ms. Kinard started on March 15th. It was a challenge in learning and trying to interact with staff and the community in our virtual environment. Overall, I enjoyed my experience here

PH: What’s impressed you about Riverside?  

AR: The rich tradition and history of Riverside, along with the staff, students, and community and how supportive they are of each other and welcoming me.

PH: What’s been the most challenging part of the job? 

AR: Leading during a pandemic and the many unknowns that are present; also not knowing staff and students and the limited ability to be able to form relationships.

PH: Is online learning stressful for you? 

AR: From my point of view, it is stressful in supporting staff who may have difficulties trying to navigate online learning.

PH: Do you think the pandemic will change school forever? If so, how?  

AR: Yes, I believe it will change education forever as it forces educators to re-examine how we look at education and learn to adapt to better practices; also, we are not sure how COVID-19 will play out in the future with possible variants and if we have any instances like this in our future they may force us to adapt

PH: Is there anything you would like to add?  

AR: Yes, I have enjoyed my time here at Riverside High School. I truly appreciate all the kinds and supports given by students, staff, and the community.

photo courtesy of Albert Royster

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