Former Central High School student becomes principal two decades later

For Cherise Ayers, the circle is complete.

She walked the halls of Central High School as a student more than two decades ago, and now she’s the principal.

“It’s surreal to be in the principal’s office and this is my office. It’s unbelievable, it’s absolutely unbelievable,” Ayers told FOX 9.

Its school spirit crosses generations.

“My mom is an alumnus. She’s class of 1970. My sisters, class of 1987. Me, 1997. I have about a dozen cousins ​​here and my own kids are here. So, I understand the benefits and power of a Central High School education,” says Ayers.

When asked how she was as a student, Ayers responds with a chuckle, then takes a serious tone.

“I was late to class almost every day, but I was engaged and did my job.” said Ayers.

His return now brings with him a throwback to the past.

“Mary Beth Redmond, who is my administrative assistant, used to write my passes late. So yeah, she’s been here for at least 26 years,” Ayers says.

The mother-of-two got her start in teaching as a teacher and says closing the achievement gap remains a top priority.

“One thing I want to make sure is that we serve all of our students that we serve our most marginalized students just as well as we serve those who come from privilege,” Ayers said. “People love Central and they stay, and I think that shows what an amazing place it is.

Back at school, for Ayers a new chapter begins in familiar territory.

“You know, I think I represent possibility. And I hopefully represent spirit,” Ayers said.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter was also part of Ayers’ class of 1997. The new administrator says the theme for this school year is “We’re in this together”.

She encourages students to take care of each other and learn to defend themselves.

Martha K. Merrill