South Charlotte

Hawk Ridge Elementary principal finds new path

Troy Moore, principal of Hawk Ridge Elementary, has always taken an interest in his students’ progress. Moore recently announced he is leaving Hawke Ridge to become head of school at a Christian school in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Troy Moore, principal of Hawk Ridge Elementary, has always taken an interest in his students’ progress. Moore recently announced he is leaving Hawke Ridge to become head of school at a Christian school in Costa Mesa, Calif. TROY MOORE

Hawk Ridge Elementary School has transformed during Principal Troy Moore’s nine-year tenure.

Many classrooms have been outfitted with furniture from IKEA and Target, which students can move around to rearrange learning configurations. More than 200 fathers actively volunteer at the school.

“Mr. Moore is a visionary,” said parent Erin McCullen. “He is constantly thinking outside of the box and challenges his students (and parents) to do the same.”

Now Moore apparently has taken his own advice in seeking a new challenge.

Moore, 37, recently announced he is leaving to become head of school at Mariners Christian School in Costa Mesa, Ca. He has said that his faith is of utmost importance to him, and recently he and his wife, Jennifer, have felt that God is moving their family toward Christian education.

“Everyone is so happy for me and my family, but it’s also an emotional time,” Moore said. “Hawk Ridge Elementary is a unique place, and the thought of leaving is incredibly hard.”

Moore, who has three elementary-age children, is not new to Christian education. He grew up in Delaware and graduated from Seaford Christian Academy there before earning a Bachelor of Science degree with teacher licensure from Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg, Va.

He also has a master’s of school administration with principal licensure from UNC Greensboro.

Moore said he was not looking to leave Hawk Ridge Elementary. When he got the recruiting call for the Mariners Christian Academy job, he said, he “tried to push it away.”

Eventually, he agreed to talk.

“I opened myself to the conversation and then to the opportunity to go out there and see the very 21st-century-oriented work they are doing and see how they are really, truly cultivating spiritual growth for students, which is very attractive to me,” he said.

As head of school, Moore will use his professional background to combine modern learning with spiritual growth.

Moore praised Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for the opportunities he has been given to bring innovation to Hawk Ridge. “They have allowed me to try some really aggressive and really amazing things for students,” he said.

One of those projects has been the classroom redesign, which began with asking students to come up with what an ideal classroom would look like. Moore said the results often looked like the inside of a Starbucks, or a living room.

The school then raised $22,000 and secured a partnership with VS America furniture in Charlotte to outfit classrooms with lightweight furniture.

Moore also introduced the Personalized Learning Initiative to Hawk Ridge. The school is one of 15 in CMS serving as pilot schools for the initiative, which provides opportunities for students to work at their own pace and have a choice in their learning.

The math program, for example, assesses students and then provides a curriculum based on material they need to master. Students learn through online programs, one-on-one time with the teacher and in teacher-led small groups.

Moore also has prompted students to pursue their own learning through Genius Hour. Students can study something they want to learn about or a problem they want to solve. Some now are sewing pillows to raise money for a service project, while others are making Claymation videos.

Thursday and Friday mornings, fathers run carpool as part of the Hawk Dads program Moore has supported. Fathers provide everything from handyman services to classroom help.

“(Moore) was open-minded and willing to encourage dads becoming more visible on campus volunteering in a myriad of ways,” said parent Brad Baldwin. “Hawk Dads has now grown to over 200 dads and has become a model for other schools to begin similar volunteer support.”

People who work with Moore describe him as open minded, a hands-on leader and a man of faith who cares deeply for the students and staff at Hawk Ridge.

In his resignation letter, Moore said Superintendent Ann Clark has told him she is committed to continuing the Personalized Learning Initiative at Hawk Ridge.

“(Moore) is a wonderful principal who has an excellent grasp of instructional best practice,” said Kathleen Elling, Moore’s supervisor and executive director of the CMS South Learning Community. “We are excited about his next leadership step and know that he will continue to do great things for students and their families.”

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at martyminchin@gmail.com.

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