HIGH POINT, N.C. — Switching into his cape and pointed hat every Friday morning, Dean LaVere transforms from school principal to Mr. Wizard.
“I try to make things fun and exciting,” said LaVere, principal of Shadybrook Elementary School in High Point.
It’s the kind of excitement students look forward to during Mr. Wizard’s weekly visits.
They often hear him pushing a cart with bells and horns, long before he appears wearing a wizard-like costume.
“He blows his little whistle or he toots his horn when they’ve mastered all their facts for the week,” said Cynthia Warren, a third grade teacher.
Scoring 100 percent on a math test means winning a toy prize or snack from Mr.Wizard’s magic cart.
A cart LaVere pushed for the last time Friday.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, sad,” LaVere said with tears in his eyes.
He’s retiring after 32 years in Guilford County schools, spending 15 years as a principal and 17 as a teacher.
“What I like about education the most is the sound of learning, that’s when a child gets the answer,” LaVere said. “That’s what I enjoy, and it’s always been about the kids.”
For the past 32 years, LaVere has worn many hats combining fun with education.
A combination shown through a pile of props and costumes LaVere has collected throughout his career.
“Trick them into learning,” said the principal.