Return to Headlines

DPS Board of Education Announces New Leadership

Leadership Update

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education names
new leaders for the 2024-25 school year.

Dr. Alford

Dr. Vanessa Alford
C.C. Spaulding Elementary School

Dr. Vanessa Alford has been tapped to lead C.C. Spaulding Elementary. She currently serves as principal at Merrick-Moore Elementary. She has extensive experience as an educational leader, having served as a principal in Cumberland County Schools and Durham Public Schools and as an assistant principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Cumberland County Schools. She also served as a school transformation coach in DPS, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and the South Carolina State Department of Education. Her background includes school turnaround, school leadership, teacher development, curriculum and instruction, leadership coaching, and building student agency. She received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University.

“Any time I embark upon a new journey it is important to me that I leave things better than I found them because to every student, every parent, community member and staff member it is important how I show up as a leader," said Dr. Alford. "I show up knowing that everyone we serve matters and what we do daily determines their future outcomes. I still believe the impossible can be made possible."


Dr. Eunice Sanders
Interim Principal 
Merrick-Moore Elementary

Dr. Eunice Sanders will serve as interim principal of  Merrick-Moore Elementary School while a permanent appointment is considered. A Durham native, Dr. Sanders’ leadership is described as transformative. She served as principal of C.C. Spaulding Elementary School, Rogers-Herr Middle School, and Neal Middle School, and was the first permanent female principal of the historic Hillside High School, which she describes as “the highlight of my career”. She also served the district as an assistant superintendent. Dr. Sanders earned her Bachelor’s and Master's degrees in Special Education from North Carolina Central university, and her Ph.D. in School Leadership from North Carolina State University.


Dr. Jennifer Hall

Dr. Jennifer Hall
Club Boulevard Elementary School

Dr. Jennifer Hall has been appointed as principal of Club Boulevard Elementary School. Dr. Hall brings her experience and successful track record as an instructional leader with a focus on her students as individuals.  She also believes in community partnerships, working alongside school and district leaders to bring the school’s mission and goals to life, and nurturing teacher growth with a talent-based approach.

“I enjoy working with teams of educators to work towards stretch goals for all students,” said Dr. Hall, who also has a background in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL). 

Twice named a teacher of the year at schools where she worked, Dr. Hall earned her Master’s degree with concentrations in K-12 ESL and K-12 Reading from Meredith College, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill. She also has a K-12 ESL certification from NC State University.

Most recently, she was awarded the National Education Finance Academy Emerging Scholar Award. 


Crystal Cahill

Crystal Cahill
Githens Middle School

Crystal Cahill will continue an established standard of excellence when she takes the principal reins at Githens Middle School, succeeding Dr. Sheldon Lanier who has accepted a role in Orange County Schools. As Githens’ current assistant principal and the district’s 2023-2024 Assistant Principal of the Year, Cahill is known for her expertise in data analysis and instructional strategies. At Githens, she has initiated a differentiated Discovery block to meet the varying needs of students and created a fair equitable behavior matrix. Through her engagement with students, staff and families, she has contributed to Githens’ academic success and safe school culture. 

Cahill earned a Master’s Degree in School Administration from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Teacher Leadership for School Improvement from North Carolina State University. 

"My goal as the principal of Githens is to continue the great progress we’ve made in previous years while continuing to foster an environment that grows both students and teachers. My goal is to also strengthen our community ties and continue to bridge school and home through building strong relationships with families. I will work alongside my colleagues to continue to make Githens a school that truly nurtures the whole child."


Dr. Iwinosa Idahor

Dr. Iwinosa Idahor
Executive Director of Equity Affairs and Program Evaluation 

Dr. Iwinosa Idahor permanently steps into the Senior Executive of Equity Affairs and Program Evaluation role. She is a three-time graduate of NC State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education (English Language Arts/Social Studies), Masters of Education in Counselor Education (School Counseling focus) and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development. She believes in the words of Baruti Kafele, who said, "Equity and social justice can never be add-ons to the current repertoire. Instead, they must be natural, organic and inherent parts of what [we] do every day [and] when they are, you'll be doing your part to change the world." 

“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to continue to serve DPS in this new capacity, as we continue to strive to become a premier example of how to ensure that equity remains embedded in the functions of our district," she said. "The gains that have occurred since the inception of this Office in threading equity into the fiber of our district are evident and I am truly grateful for the path that has been paved. I look forward to continuing this work with the students, employees and families of DPS, along with our Durham community to improve outcomes and experiences for students, families and employees."