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Research and Accountability, Early Learning, and W.G. Pearson Elementary to receive new leaders

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education approved three key leadership recommendations from Superintendent Pascal Mubenga today in closed session following its July 8 organizational meeting.

Dr. Albert Royster

Dr. Albert Royster will become executive director for research and accountability, reporting to Deputy Superintendent Nakia Hardy, effective July 25. Royster has been director of student services for DPS since 2018, while simultaneously answering the call to serve as interim principal of Riverside High School and Neal Middle School during their leadership transitions. As a leader in the Student Support Services team, Dr. Royster served as Priority 2 lead (“Provide a Safe School Environment that Supports the Whole Child”) for the 2018-23 Strategic Plan supervised the New Directions alternative to suspension program, and supervised School Social Workers. He has represented DPS on the Durham County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and the School Justice Partnership. Royster is a past principal of Rockingham County schools and a former teacher and athletic director. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from UNC-Greensboro.


Karen Thompson

Karen Thompson becomes interim director of early education following the departure of Dr. Suzanne Cotterman. Thompson has worked in the Office of Early Education as a coordinator since 2015, where she collaborates with schools and department staff to ensure that DPS offers high-quality pre-kindergarten programs and all federal, state, and local guidelines are followed. She joined DPS as a kindergarten teacher at W.G. Pearson Elementary and became an assistant principal at C.C. Spaulding Elementary before joining the early education team. She has a Master of School Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.


Kendell L. Dorsey

Kendell L. Dorsey becomes interim principal of W.G. Pearson Elementary School following the departure of principal Caroline Linker. He currently serves as assistant principal of Pearsontown Elementary School, where he has been since 2021. Prior to that, he served as a curriculum and instruction coordinator for DPS responsible for Read to Achieve and Multi-tiered Systems of Support. In Cincinnati, he supported K-8 teachers as a school improvement consultant for Cincinnati Public Schools before becoming principal of Winton Woods Elementary and Orion Academy (K-8). He holds a Master of Educational Leadership degree from the University of Cincinnati.