Vice principal Ayers seizes opportunities at White Station and for its students


Junie Scott

Michael Ayers, Vice Principle of White Station, has undoubtedly created a mark on White Station and its history. Whether he is cheering on the various sports teams or presenting guidance to those in need, Ayers’ passion for the school will never go unnoticed.

Even if you do not know him by name, there is no doubt that you will recognize the ratter of his keys as he patrols through the hallway. The man, the myth, the legend: Michael Ayers, Vice Principal of White Station High School has a purposeful walk that may seem intimidating to some, but his dedication for the students outshines all.

First impressions of Ayers vary among students, each story bringing light to his different sides. When Yuktha Yalamachili (12) moved to Memphis, she noted his acceptance and guidance.  

“I met him in person after we came back in the hallways, and he recognized me through the emails we had sent each other,” Yalamanchili said. “He tried to ask me about my experience in America as someone who recently moved here and was also very kind and tried to guide me on college applications too.”

Initially, Ayers did not set out to be an administrator. His job as a middle school band director for 14 years seemed to be where he would settle. However, one thing led to another, and with the help of several administrators, he was able to challenge himself within this new field. 

“I’ve always had a knack for leadership in any capacity. I was very happy as a band director and really enjoyed it. It never felt like I was working,” Ayers said. “However, the draw to administration was always in the back of my mind. I had a very nurturing principal and assistant principal that gave me good counsel and made recommendations. I felt like I had a lot of good information with which I could make a decision.”

This led to the start of his administrative career at Cape Bond Middle School where he was the vice principal for eight years until he was offered a position by Principal Carrye Holland, who was also starting her new career at White Station High School. The change from middle to high school would be big, but Ayers knew he was ready. 

“I thought a change would have been good,” Ayers said. “I liked the opportunities that were presented to meet new people, try my skill set out at a different level and add a new dimension to my career and practice as an educator. White Station High School checked all of the boxes.” 

With years of experience under his belt, Ayers’ career has been overall rewarding. Working at White Station has become one of his proudest accomplishments as he continues to help this school grow. 

“The most rewarding aspect for me is when new families are coming in from another state, system or school, and they are inquiring about White Station,” Ayers said. “Being able to show off the school, students and staff helps incoming students realize that this is the place that they want to call home. Knowing that I played a very small part in that is gratifying.”

It is a requirement for any administrator to get to know the community within the school. Ayers makes it one of his top priorities to understand and form bonds with all of the students, no matter their background. 

“I find it easy to have conversations with all students at White Station. They are approachable and engaging,” Ayers said. “Generally, Spartan students take advice, are inquisitive and make corrections well. I have enjoyed getting to know the students and becoming familiar with their personalities. Even though we were preempted last year, it has been good to be back and see everyone this year.”

Many students have taken a liking to Mr. Ayers ever since he was first introduced to the school three years ago. His leadership style is distinct to the students and well respected. 

“He cares about this school and the student body,” Sam Shiberou (11) said. “He definitely gives off an authoritative figure, but I think he does his job well. I like that he knows what he’s doing and is direct. He is able to be strict yet friendly. As long as you follow the rules, you should be able to get along with Mr. Ayers.”

In his time at White Station, Ayers’ iconic presence has influenced students. Russell Wolfe (11) decided to dress as Ayers for a class distinction day. 

“I know Mr. Ayers has a sense of humor,” Wolfe said. “For the class distinction day during the football homecoming, juniors were supposed to dress up as their “Mid-Life Crisis,” so I dressed up as Mr. Ayers. I actually went to the parking lot in the morning where he was directing traffic, and he really liked my outfit. He even took a photo with me.”

While his job is overall rewarding, there can be some tough moments. The issues he faces are present within the school and beyond. 

“The hardest things in this field are probably … finding the right balance and managing your responsibilities,” Ayers said. “It is meeting responsibility as a husband and a father, as a leader in the school and a citizen in the community. Finding a way to balance all of that and allow yourself time to relax is always a challenge. The older I get, I don’t think it will get any easier.”

While students continue to grow, graduate and pursue a variety of careers, administrators like Ayers will continue to create a home for new students who are only starting their journey. 

“There are a lot of things that I would like to say to the students of White Station because everyone has a different story,” Ayers said. “But I would say trust your instincts, stay motivated, work to be the best citizen you can be, manage your time and have empathy for others. Enjoy the talents and opportunities you’ve been blessed with and do not take them for granted.”