The Githens leadership works in service to students and staff to provide a thriving atmosphere for growth and success.  With an eye on Raider student life in all aspects like academic, social and emotional areas, the leadership team works together with students and families.  Collaborating together leads to positive growth, engaging experiences and lifelong middle school memories. Don't hestitate to reach out to us with any questions

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    Dr. Sheldon Lanier

    Email: sheldon_lanier@dpsnc.net


    Dr. Sheldon Lanier is a 2001 Teaching Fellows graduate of North Carolina State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education.  He taught middle school math with Wake County Schools at Durant Road Middle School before being awarded the North Carolina Principal Fellows scholarship and pursuing and graduating with his Master of School Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008.  He served as Assistant Principal in Wake County Schools for six years at Leesville Road Middle School while earning his Educational Specialist degree from UNC in 2014.  He then served as Director of Equity Leadership and AVID for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and graduated with his doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017.  Dr. Lanier came to Durham Public Schools in July of 2018 and has served as Principal of W.J. Brogden Middle School and currently leads Sherwood Githens Middle School.


    Crystal Cahill

    Email: crystal_cahill@dpsnc.net

    Hi Githens Raiders! My name is Crystal Cahill. I am serving as your 7th grade principal and honored to be joining this team! I am entering my 10th year in education. I completed my undergraduate studies at NC State University with a degree in Elementary Education. I completed my first term of graduate studies at the University of Florida, earning an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. I am currently completing my MSA at NC State University. I taught 6 years at the elementary level. My most recent experience was as a Literacy Coach for K-5 teachers. I also coached volleyball for 3 years. Equitable education for all students is my passion and I am excited to continue that work here at Githens. My hobbies include traveling with my husband, shopping, reading, and playing volleyball.

    James Carter

    Email: james_carter@dpsnc.net

    Greetings Raider Nation! My name is James Carter and I am honored to introduce myself as the 6th-grade Assistant Principal at Githens Middle School.  

    I received my Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University and a Master in School Administration from North Carolina Central University.

    The middle school years are important and critical times for academic, social, and emotional growth. My goal as Assistant Principal is to cultivate a leadership atmosphere that promotes a safe, secure and positive atmosphere that facilitates excellence in the classroom and lifelong learning. I believe that ​all children can learn and that all children will learn based on what we do. The question is not is your child smart but how is your child smart? 

    I am excited about all that we will accomplish working together.  Feel free to contact me at any time with any celebrations, questions, comments, or concerns you may have during the school year.

    Vivianease Major

    Email: vivianease_major@dpsnc.net

    It is a pleasure to serve as the 8th grade Assistant Principal at Githens Middle School. I am embarking upon my 26th year in education and my 5th year as an administrator. I received my undergraduate degree from Fayetteville State University and my Masters in Executive Leadership from Gardner Webb University. I am happily married to Undrea Major and we have three children, Tyffani, Jalon, and Jordan.



    Elizabeth O'Donnell

    Email: elizabeth_odonnell@dpsnc.net

    I am proud to serve as the Githens AIG Specialist and the co-chair of the English Department.  Raider Pride!  I have 28 years of experience as an educator and have worked with students K-12.  I have a Masters Degree in English Language and Literature from ASU and a Masters Degree in School Administration from UNC where I was a Principal Fellow.  In my free time I love cooking for the great love of my life and our 5 children. Advanced Academics Website


    Justine Daniel 

    Email: justine_daniel@dpsnc.net

    Prior to becoming the Teaching & Learning Coach for Githens Middle School I taught 8th grade ELA for 13 years. I have a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus in Middle Grades Education from NC State University, AIG licensure from Duke University and was a  Capital Area Writing Project fellow through NC State University. One of my biggest honors was being named 2017 Durham Public School’s Teacher of the Year. Each and every day I am inspired by my collaboration with our innovative teachers. When I am not working here at Githens I am spending time with my husband and 4 year old twins! 


    Vicki Overton

    Email: vicki_overton@dpsnc.net

    I am excited to be the Math Instructional Coach at Githens Middle School! My 28 years in education include 19 years as a high school math teacher, and 6 years as a Math Coach in nearby school districts. I have my Bachelor and Master degrees in Math Education from NCSU, where I met my husband of 32 years. Our three children currently attend UNC system universities. My hobbies include boating, singing, and tagging along with my kids on their adventures!