Library to be dedicated in memory of admired principal

Published 5:00 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

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The library at Chocowinity Primary School will be dedicated on Saturday, Mar. 4 in memory of Neal Titus, an admired principal at the school for 26 years. He started in 1976 as an assistant principal then served as principal from 1984 to 2003. 

Chocowinity Primary School described Titus as a “visionary” for his ability to collaborate with staff as well as implementing weekly grade level planning meetings on Wednesday afternoons. “A calm and steady leader, he always set the bar high regarding academic excellence and encouraged his staff to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the children,” the school wrote in a proposal to dedicate the library in his memory. 

“He valued his staff and supported his teachers. His kindness and encouragement are fondly remembered by those who worked for him. He was known to do random acts of kindness such as taking a teacher’s car to be fixed to ensure she could safely get to school each day,” according to the school. 

Chocowinity Primary School Principal, Lynn Whittington, has worked at the school since 1998 starting as a fifth grade teacher. She shared that when fifth grade students moved to Chocowinity Middle following a large fire at the primary school, Titus asked her if she would remain at the school and teach other grade levels. She was “grateful” he asked her to stay, because he helped her improve upon her leadership skills. She was promoted to be a teacher leader and work more with administrators. “If it wasn’t for that moment of him having that vision…none of this would have happened,” Whittington said. 

In addition to his leadership skills, Titus is remembered as a man who prioritized a neat and tidy learning space encouraging students and staff to “take pride and ownership” of the school, the proposal read. He was known to keep an eraser in his pocket to remove scuffs on the walls. 

Whittington shared one of Titus’ quotes, “if you can’t do the small things, then you can’t do the big things.” Meaning, if a faculty member could not keep a neat and orderly classroom then they would have a difficult time providing a successful learning environment for students. 

In 1999, Revonda Godley was hired by Titus to teach a fourth grade class. “Mr. Titus had a calmness about him that put you at ease in his presence. He always strived for excellence, and made you want to excel just to make him proud,” she wrote to the Daily News. 

She recalled Titus allowing her to take her class on a field trip to the North Carolina mountains as part of a unit of study she was completing for National Board certification. 

She noted when Titus was principal, there was little turnover among staff members, because it felt like a large family working together. 

“The dedication of the library to him warms my heart,” Godley wrote, “It’s like he is still looking down and doing his best to take care of us.  We miss him.” 

A dedication will be held Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. at the Chocowinity Primary School Library (606 Gray Rd, Chocowinity).