Carl Forsyth, Managing Director
Carl Forsyth is a veteran educator with 35 years of experience in the North Carolina public schools. He has worked in various educational settings as a teacher, counselor and school administrator. Mr. Forsyth was the founding principal of Voyager Academy when the school opened in 2007 with 325 students in grades 4-7. Through his leadership, Voyager Academy has expanded to include an elementary, middle and high school with a total enrollment of 845 students in grades 3-10. His constant focus on increasing student achievement has resulted in Voyager Academy being named a North Carolina School of Distinction for three straight years, with an overall student at grade level composite of 86.5% and student growth reaching expected levels for three consecutive years.
In November 2010, Mr. Forsyth was appointed by Governor Beverly Purdue to serve on the Governor’s Education Transformation Commission. The commission will advise Governor Perdue and provides oversight on the use of the federal “Race To The Top” funds. He is also member of the Commission’s School Transformation sub-committee
Leslie Paynter, VAES Principal
Ms. Paynter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education (K-6) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Masters degree in special education (K-12) from UNC-Charlotte, and an Education Administration and Supervision add-on license from North Carolina Central University.
Professional training, presentations and other experience:
- Classroom teacher
- Special education teacher
- Reading specialist
- Local Education Agency representative
- EC facilitator
- Testing and Educational Evaluator
- Beginning teacher mentor
- Support Services coordinator
- High School Placement counselor
- Project Based Learning
- Reading and Writing Workshop
- Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study in Upper Grade Reading: Grades 3 – 5
- Pearson’s Developmental Reading Assessment
- Responsive Classroom
- Reading, writing, and math differentiation and strategies
- Presenter at state exceptional children’s conferences
- Presenter at national reading conference
- School Board member
Chris Bennett, VAMS Principal
Chris begins his third year as principal of Voyager Academy Middle School after serving in several capacities in public school systems across North Carolina. In his 25 years of service in public education, Chris has been a Teacher, Coach, Assistant Principal, Principal, Executive Director of Choice Programs, Executive Director of Advanced Academics and Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife of 23 years, Kelly, have three children. His oldest attends Appalachian State University. His other two children are students at Voyager Academy. Chris considers it an honor to serve the students and parents at Voyager Academy and looks forward to another successful school year.p>
Mr. Bennett's personal Mission and Vision Statements include:
- To ensure high levels of learning for all students.
- To improve student achievement through effective instructional leadership.
- To provide all students with an outstanding education that motivates them to reach their full potential and enables them to discover their interests and talents, pursue their goals and dreams, and succeed in college, in the workforce and as engaged citizens.
- To work collaboratively to empower teachers, inspire learning, and increase student achievement.
- To ensure that every student graduates prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.
He believes that students:
- can learn at high levels.
- should be challenged to achieve at their highest capacity.
- have the right to an enriched education.
He believes that teachers
- need to be empowered in order to do their best teaching.
He believes that schools
- should include significant opportunities within their curricula for student enrichment beyond the basic skills.
Mr. Bennett is a native of Durha
Bill Graham, VAMS Assistant Principal
Mr. Graham has a Bachelor Degree from Miami (Ohio), a MAT from Duke, and a MSA from UNC-Chapel Hill. During his professional education experience, Mr. Graham has served as a teacher, coach, Assistant Principal in Durham Public Schools and Principal in Granville County.
Mr. Graham is grateful to be at Voyager where he has been reunited with several friends and colleagues from other schools. There are even a couple of his former students on staff. The quality of this staff is what first attracted him to Voyager, but he has since realized that the entire community is exceptional.
Mr. Graham sees his role as supporting teachers, who do the work of delivering instruction which is what schools are all about. Providing an environment in which teaching and learning take place is his priority. He enjoys assisting students as they develop into responsible adults and appreciates working collaboratively with parents to encourage that process.
Both of Mr. Graham’s daughters graduated from Northern High School and then one from VCU and onefrom UNC –Greensboro.
Cory Draughon, VAHS Principal
Mr. Draughon began his education studies at North Carolina State University in the field of Business and Marketing Education. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Marketing Education and a Minor in Business Management. Upon graduation, Mr. Draughon took a job as a Business and Marketing teacher at Northern High School in Durham where he taught Computer Applications, Marketing Management, Sports and Entertainment Marketing to students in grades 9-12. At Northern, he was an advisor for DECA (a marketing club), Habitat for Humanity, Future Business Leaders of America and Model United Nations. An incredible opportunity to help start Voyager Academy surfaced. After receiving approval from the State Board of Education for the Voyager Charter, Mr. Draughon began spending nights and weekends working pro-bono for a year with the Voyager Academy Board of Directors on the logistics of opening a new school. His responsibilities ranged from completing the IRS application for tax exemption to developing budgets and managing the lottery process. When the school opened Mr. Draughon formally served in the role of Finance Officer; developing Voyager’s budget with the administration and Board, managing the budget through the school year, completing state fiscal reporting, payroll, accounts payable and receivable.
Along with these responsibilities Mr. Draughon has facilitated technology, attended all Board meetings, helped implement the student assessment tool NWEA, participated in Project Based Learning training, collaborated with teachers and administrators for many school-based decisions, managed student schedules, grade reporting, attendance and all other student data reporting from NCWise. Mr. Draughon attended the Masters in School Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on nights and weekends. As part of his coursework, Mr. Draughon served as an administrative intern under the seasoned leadership of Mr. Carl Forsyth. During the internship, Mr. Draughon conducted staff development, participated in meetings with families and students, developed strategies to align the student discipline policy to responsive classroom practices and developed a custom teacher evaluation tool using the iPhone/iPad. He also worked on developing the framework for a Voyager Academy High School including the Educational Theory, integration of the 21st Century Skills Framework and Ethical Decision Making. Through many hours of hard work and collaboration with the curriculum director, administrators, Board and community members, the high school plan was developed and submitted to the State Board of Education. The plan received approval on January 7, 2010.
Finally, the most important part of Mr. Draughon's background is his family. He has been married to his wonderful wife for seven years now. They are extremely fortunate to have a healthy daughter and son. Mr. Draughon feels he could not be in the position he his today without their love and support.