Mark Bailey: A closer look at Maureen Joy’s new principal

Principal Mark Bailey (third from left) poses with MJCS faculty after hosting the Hispanic Heritage event in the auditorium. (Staff photo by Eric O’Neal)

In the halls of Maureen Joy Charter School, students and staff are encouraged to be active in and around their school, as well enjoy and embrace learning. So what better way to accentuate that than to have a leader who is just that, and even is excited to do it?

Mark Bailey, principal of MJCS, is a fairly new face to an also fairly new school. Yet, he puts forth a positive energy that is difficult to resist. He succeeds interim principal Alex Quigley.

“He brings an energy and dedication to the school,” Bella Kussin said of Bailey. “From the classroom to the home, he connects with both parents and students.”

A newcomer of four months to North Carolina, Bailey states that his favorite feature of North Carolina is the outdoors. “Here, there’s just a good selection of things to do outside,” Bailey said. “You can go do things such as hiking, walking, and basketball.”

He also describes himself as a movie buff. “Jennifer Lawrence would have to be my favorite actress.” He smiled as the words left his mouth.

Bailey, 37, was born in Atlas, Oklahoma, but recounts that he only lived there for a few weeks. As his father, Donald, was in the Air Force, he never stayed in the same place for too long. “Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Australia,” He fondly recollected. “I’ve pretty much been all around the Southern belt.”

While the stereotypical, television sitcom principal may be the old man sitting behind the desk with a permanent frown, most real-life principals aren’t like that. Bailey is certainly no exception to that happenstance.

When asked about his childhood dream job, Bailey expressed that he always had wanted to be a movie reviewer, or a sports broadcaster for basketball.

It’s hard not to like an infectious energy fused with great communication skills, a combination that perfectly describes the demeanor of Mark Bailey.

“I’ve really enjoyed Mr. Bailey,” Megan Moss, a MJCS third grade teacher, recounted in her classroom decorated by creations of her students. “He’s very visible in the school and genuinely wants to get to know you.”

A graduate with a degree in English, Mr. Bailey began his career in education by first being a special needs teacher for Teach For America in New Orleans. He then took on the mantle of an English teacher before he became a principal supervisor, then an assistant principal spanning from 2005-2012.

It was then in 2012 that Bailey earned the position of principal supervisor. While supervising and evaluating other principals before being an actual one himself seemed comical, Bailey admits, he recounts the experience as a valuable one.

“Seeing how other principals operated and engaged in their work, it was a great experience,” He said. He held the position from 2012-2015, when he was selected to be the next principal of Maureen Joy Charter School.

Bailey asserts that the governance of the school is to partner with parents to better serve their children. This entails being able to communicate with both younger and older generations, which is a strength of his.

“Communication is important to me,” Bailey elaborated as he admired the waning sunlight coming through his window. “There’s no shortcuts to building relationships.”

“This is a very energetic school, with a very energetic staff,” said 6th grade math teacher Taylor Wells. “With his energy, he fits in well.”

Principal Mark Bailey, pictured in the far left, dances with faculty during the Maureen Joy Charter School’s Hispanic Heritage event. (Staff photo by Eric O’Neal)

Principal Mark Bailey, pictured in the far left, dances with faculty during the Maureen Joy Charter School’s Hispanic Heritage event. (Staff photo by Eric O’Neal)