Alternative school gets new leader
Published 7:04 pm Saturday, September 5, 2015
Kinsey Bynum is in an unusual position as the new principal of Turlington Woods School.
Most principals want to make their school a welcoming environment, but for Bynum it’s just the opposite.
“We don’t want them to like it here,” he said. “Our aim is to move kids back to their base school.”
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But that’s not to say Turlington Woods — the alternative school for middle and high school students with behavioral problems — isn’t a great school. On Friday afternoon, teachers busily prepared the last few items in their classrooms before leaving for the holiday weekend to return on the first day of school.
The classrooms are far smaller than an ordinary classroom, because class sizes are much smaller, allowing for the individual attention that students at Turlington Woods especially need, Bynum said.
“We can do that with the small classrooms,” said Bynum, who is entering his first year as a principal.
About 120 students move into and out of Turlington Woods throughout the year, but they are not all there at the same time.
Bynum “sort of fell upon” the education profession, as he puts it. He was coaching sports and working at Smithfield Foods when an opening in technology education at Windsor Middle School became available.
That was in 1991. Since then, he has worked in Franklin Public Schools and in South Carolina. He taught at Suffolk’s John F. Kennedy Middle School from 2009 to 2013. He then left to be an assistant principal in Northampton County, where he was also director of career and technical education.
Bynum said he hopes to use his expertise to help students at Turlington Woods get their behavior back on track.
“I have a passion to move kids to the next level and move them toward graduation,” he said.
Bynum’s family is from Suffolk originally, so he has plenty of connections here. He and his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, also plan to bring their mentoring program to the building.