Wilson Central High School Principal Travis Mayfield is a bit (more than a bit) humble at his recent official "Administrator of the Year" announcements.
"Travis Mayfield is an administrator who is equally admired and respected by students and staff, evidenced by the recent recognition given as Administrator of the Year in two different areas," Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright told The Wilson Post last Wednesday. "The accolades from teachers and students that have exploded on social media in the last two days validate what I have known about Mr. Mayfield: he is child-centered in his thinking and a strong advocate for his teachers! This is who Travis Mayfield really is and I suspect that he is uncomfortable about the recognition he is receiving, but so deserves!"
Mayfield said what makes this good is because it was the nominations of faculty and students that made it possible. Mayfield indicated he wanted to get the hoopla out of the way as quickly as possible and get on to the business of running the 1,700-plus pupil high school.
Over the weekend Mayfield was named "Administrator of the Year" by the Tennessee Association of Student Council Administrators and soon after named "Outstanding Administrator for 2017" by the Tennessee Music Education Association.
"The people and the students made this possible," Mayfield said Wednesday. "This is a good place to be and basically high school is high school and we need to educate close to 2,000 young people."
Wilson Central High School is a "good place to be" after an absence of five years when Mayfield was led by a higher calling - family - when he resigned from Wilson Central High School as principal in 2010 to become assistant principal at Independence High School in Franklin, Tenn.
"I originally came to WCHS in 2005 as assistant principal," Mayfield rehashed. "I became principal in 2006 when Larry Kernagis resigned."
Four years later he made the monumental decision to resign as principal at Wilson Central and "step down" to assistant principal at Independence High School, because of his loyalty to his children. He has four, and his twins, Braden and Madison, now 21, were ninth graders at the time at that school and he needed to be near them and watch them grow up and experience high school. As assistant principal there he was able to, "be around them everyday and see their high school careers."
At the time his son ran cross-country, among other sports, and his daughter played volleyball and was involved in theatre.
It was a strategic family move and he knew time was precious and he'd never have another chance to share in the experience.
"As far as the move from principal of a huge school to an assistance principal, I'm in education, and only want to help students," he explained about his career change and leaving Wilson Central. "It's way more than a title and a status symbol. I knew I could make a difference wherever I was."
He watched his twins graduate and in 2015 former WCHS principal Pat Suddarth retired. He knew the now Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright from when she was in Williamson County and he kept connections in Wilson County while away as South Side's wrestling coach.
"For five years I still lived in Wilson County and drove 50 miles one way to Independence High School," Mayfield noted.
He got the job in 2015 and regained title as Wilson Central principal. The school grew from 1,600 students when he left to over 1,900 today.
"Dr. Wright is now head of the system and there is a new direction as well," Mayfield said.
He has four assistant principals to help guide the huge high school. Now two years into his second stint, Mayfield said he wants to continue the ACT benchmark of 21 and hopefully achieve a 22.5 in the next few years.
"We are striving to increase this ACT number," Mayfield said. "We want a 19 to graduated, a 21 to attain the HOPE scholarship and those with a 26 we want to elevate to a 30 for a full ride scholarship, these are our initiatives."
Mayfield said his overall focus in the coming years is to reach the cultural expectation of achieving academic excellence.
"I'm about supporting the education of all the students," he said. "Kids have different interests and my scope is broad."
Mayfield's success and popularity relates to his efforts to attend as many school events as possible. He's a popular fixture at things such as the October Student Council Conference hosted by Wilson Central.
"I came everyday, and spoke," he said.
He also meets with the band and "arts" teachers on a regular basis to support their efforts. He listens to the band classes. He watches the marching and drum lines.
"In reality, without school leadership these extracurricular activities don't do well," he said.
While he said there are upcoming challenges, he believes his stint as assistant principal in Williamson County "taught" him a lot.
"I want the best practices and programs as possible and use our resources wisely," he said.
Outside of principalship, Mayfield said he concentrates on his other children who are fifth and fourth graders at Southside and there's not much time for hobbies at this point.
"It's all a balancing act," he said with a smile.