COLUMBIA — When Eryca Neville becomes the new principal of Douglass High School on July 1, she said she plans to increase students' career awareness and development and provide more postsecondary education opportunities.
Douglass is an alternative high school on North Providence Road and had an enrollment of about 185 students this past school year.
Neville, 41, will replace Brian Gaub, who is taking the position of assistant principal at West Junior High School.
Gaub said he and Neville are working together to make the transition as smooth as possible.
"Dr. Neville has come in, talked to staff and sat in on student interviews to get into the flow of things here," he said.
Although Neville's first official day is more than a month away, she has already begun researching information to use in her new job.
"Anything happening now has a political, historical and legal history in this country," she said. "I have to know the context to solve the problems."
Peggy Placier, an associate professor in the MU College of Education, has known Neville for 15 years as a student and co-worker.
"Eryca brings a vast knowledge base on multicultural, equity and community issues," she said. "It's encouraging that she was chosen for a leadership position in this district."
Neville was formerly an assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology in the MU College of Education. She has worked for the past five years in the MU Teacher Development Program teaching methods courses to other educators. She also helped create a course for the MU Difficult Dialogues program and is a faculty fellow for the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative.
Neville attended the Douglass graduation ceremony Saturday and was greeted with applause when Gaub recognized her in his introduction speech to the audience.
"It takes a village," Neville said. "There are a dedicated bunch of people working at Douglass. I want to build on the good work they've already done."