Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Sara Newell - Principal

Sara has been in KCS since 2002, has taught third grade, sixth grade ELA and Social Studies, seventh grade ELA and seventh and eighth grade honors ELA, coached cheerleading, track and field, and cross-country, has served as the AIG Coordinator for the district, as an Assistant Principal at AL Brown High School, and in April of 2022 entered the role as A. L. Brown Principal.  

Originally from Rochester, NY, Sara Newell moved to Kannapolis in 2002 after completing her undergraduate degree in elementary education at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY. Sara also minored in Psychology while at St. Bonaventure University. As a life-long learner, Sara earned her National Boards in 2009, her masters in Middle Grades from Gardner-Webb University in 2013, her AIG certification from UNC-Charlotte in 2015, her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Gardner-Webb University in 2018, and most recently, her Educational Leadership License from Gardner-Webb University in 2019. Sara continues to adjunct at Gardner-Webb University in both their Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs. 

Sara’s educational philosophy is that students should be at the heart of all educational decisions and that all students have the chance to succeed. Using this philosophy as a guiding force, Sara continues to advocate for students’ best interests in all she does and hopes to serve as a role model for the students and families in Kannapolis City Schools. 

Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Johan Freeland - Assistant Principal (9th grade)

Mr. Freeland is a Topeka, Kansas native that moved to North Carolina in 2011.  He migrated to Rowan County in 2018 and became a substitute teacher at A.L. Brown.  He has an Associate degree from Coffeyville Community College where he played basketball, a Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management from Friends University, and a Master's degree in Management from Baker University.  He has worked at a management level in the areas of juvenile corrections, recreation, and mental facilities for youth before leaving Kansas.

Mr. Freeland was Kannapolis City Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year when he was a CTE Business teacher.  He worked with area business leaders to start a business presentation competition which exposed our students to influential community members.  His educational philosophy is that there is gold in each one of these students and it’s my job to help them mine it out.  Currently, Mr. Freeland is working through the Principal Fellows program at UNC Charlotte and will graduate in May of 2024.

Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Mauricio Restrepo - Assistant Principal (10th grade)

Mr. Restrepo is originally from West Haven, Connecticut.  Born from Colombian immigrants, Mauricio moved with his wife and children to the Charlotte Area in 2013.  He has his associates degree from Gateway Community College, his Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from Southern Connecticut State University and his Master’s in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He also has his certificate in Curriculum and Supervision. 

Mr. Restrepo taught with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at West Mecklenburg High School.  As the AP Spanish Teacher and department chair, he helped students reach their goals year after year.  As the Student Government Advisor he helped students lead others to their own successes. Mauricio believes all students can succeed and wants to help them realize their own path to success.  He is a 2022 fellow with LatinexEd.  He truly feels all Wonders can be successful and no two paths are the same.  

Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Jessica Reynolds- Assistant Principal (11th grade)

Ms. Reynolds started her teaching career at A. L. Brown High School in 2004.  She taught math before transitioning to the Freshman Academy coordinator.  She then went on to teach math at Lake Norman High School and Mallard Creek High School before becoming an assistant principal at Jesse C. Carson High School in 2015.  In 2021, Ms. Reynolds came back home to A. L. Brown as an assistant principal.  Ms. Reynolds received her bachelor's degree in Middle Childhood Education with a focus on mathematics and science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  In 2011, she received her master's degree in School Administration from Western Carolina University.

Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Bret Butch-Assistant Principal (12th grade)

Phone: 704-932-6125

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Belinda Rojo- Dean of Students

Belinda is a Kannapolis native born and raised and prides herself on being a product of Kannapolis City Schools. She graduated from A.L. Brown High School in 2007 and returned in 2011 to teach Social Studies. 

Belinda earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UNC-Charlotte where she studied History with a minor in secondary education. She then continued her education and earned her Masters Degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies, graduating in 2013. She began working on the Masters in School Administration Add-On from UNC-Charlotte and graduated in 2018. Currently, she is working on her Doctorate Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Gardner Webb University. 

Mrs. Rojo believes that we should be guiding students to become the best version of themselves and to teach them skills that will help them be successful, no matter which path they choose to follow after high school. She believes that it is our responsibility to foster a relationship with our students and families through community engagement. When the school, students, families, and community work together, the students win in all aspects of life. 

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Mr. Empsy Thompson-Athletic Director

Mr. Thompson is currently the Athletic Director for the amazing Wonders. A Kannapolis native and A L Brown alum, Coach Thompson returned to Ktown to teach Social Studies and to coach the Wonders baseball team after graduating from UNC Pembroke (class of 94). He served as the assistant athletic director prior to becoming the Athletic Director in 2016. Mr. Thompson has made it clear to all, "I was born a Wonder, and a Wonder is what I will ALWAYS be until I die".