Little to be N.C principal; incoming principal excited


Jana Isern and Gabi Altinok

After six years as principal of Princess Anne High School, Danny Little will become principal of Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, starting in July. Of note is Laney High School is where Michael Jordan played basketball.

Even though he describes working at PA as a dream, a change is what he needed. “Once you reach the top, you never want to stop challenging yourself, because then you will stop growing,” he explained.

Little has worked in the Virginia Public School System for 34 years, and this year will mark his last. However, he hopes “to work and continue the same as I did here. No two schools are alike; I’m sure there will be challenges, but opportunities as well.”

Wilmington is in southern North Carolina, near the ocean where Blackbeard the pirate is said to have visited, and the school mascot is the Buccaneer. 

He remarked that he will miss “the cultural interaction, and the relationship that exists between both the students and staff.”

Little explained that he feels proud of the accomplishments that PA has been a part of. His goal as a principal was to create a community where everyone feels comfortable and understands that they have a voice in the decision-making process. “A culture of [interaction] [and] kindness to the staff and students,” he said. 

When announcing his retirement to the staff, Little felt “torn,” as he described his experience working at PA as “unbelievable.”

“Students never cease to amaze me. You guys always exceed our expectations, whatever the challenges may be,” he said. 

“Throughout my 34 years [this] has been the most exciting part, working with the students and staff,” said Little.

When asked about the consequences of his retirement, Little explained that he encourages change. “Whatever we do this year I believe that we can do better next year as we look to improve things,” he said. 

Little’s position will be filled by Green Run Principal Christopher Tarkenton. 

“I’ve known him since I came to Virginia Beach and looking at his work style and his approach to things I think that he will continue the good work that has taken place here,” said Little. “I am not concerned about things falling off or not moving forward because the culture of the school will always ensure [progress].” 

Tarkenton, who is a Kellam High graduate, has been the principal at Green Run High School for nine years and has been working in the Public School System for 27 years. 

As he prepares for his move to PA, Tarkenton explained that while he’s a little anxious, he looks forward to “learning from the students, faculty and staff of Princess Anne High School and continuing on the great traditions that exist there.”

Tarkenton explained that he is also hoping to bring a new tradition of his own: to hand out birthday pencils to students on the morning of their birthday. “It gives the chance for someone to be recognized to celebrate their birthday cause it’s a special day,” he said. “It gives me a chance to see students and I hope it’ll be well received.”

Being a former athlete and coach, Tarkenton values not only academic achievement, but also the importance of extracurricular activities, such as clubs and sports. Having played and coached baseball, as well as basketball, his competitive nature reinforces his goal as the future principal “to be the best in everything possible.”

With the future of PA in his hands, Tarkenton says, “My goal is for Princess Anne to continue to show improvement and whatever that may look like. Whether it’s academic performance or athletic performance. I want every student in there to find success and whatever that success may be.”

Little said he leaves PA with a heavy heart but a purpose and challenge to expand his knowledge and career. While he isn’t retiring yet he explained that once he does his “goal is to help school systems rebuild after natural disasters.” 

“It’s like leaving home; it is hard to leave a place that you learned to love in such a short period of time,” said Little.