by Tori Hamby

Another north Mecklenburg County school will begin the upcoming school year with a different principal.

Louise Jones, principal of Hopewell High School in Huntersville, announced last week that she has left Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools after 5 1/2 years at Hopewell High and 14 years in the school district. She will serve as a principal in District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C.

“I am ready for a change and for a new challenge,” Jones said in an email to the Herald. “I also want to be closer to children and grandchildren. My new job will allow me to live closer to family.”

Jones has helped raise the school’s proficiency score from the 50th percentile to the 80th percentile during her time at Hopewell High. The school has met or exceeded state academic growth standards on End-of-Course tests during the past four years under her leadership.

The U.S. News & World Report also named Hopewell High the No. 1 ranked public high school in North Carolina in its 2012 Best High Schools report. The publication also ranked the school 663rd   in its national ranking of public schools.

“I think my legacy at Hopewell High School was taking a school in chaos five years ago and helping provide structure and academic support,” she said.

Jones, during her tenure at Hopewell High, also added two National Academy Foundation academies – an engineering academy and a hospitality/tourism academy – to the school.

“I see NAF academies as a means to reform school, give students career and college opportunities and build a pipeline of valuable employees for businesses.”

Jones said although her title will be “principal” after beginning employment with D.C. Public Schools, she won’t initially be assigned to a specific school. She will visit many schools that need assistance and work with the district’s chief of staff in the central office before eventually receiving a school assignment.

Hopewell is one of several Lake Norman schools to begin the upcoming school year with a new principal. Angela Richardson, a former assistant principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, will serve as principal of J.M Alexander Middle School in Huntersville.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reassigned Bailey Middle School principal Jennifer Dean to King Middle earlier this summer.

The school district has not released names of replacements for Jones or Dean.