It's the first day of school for many students, and also for the new leader of one of our region's most troubled schools. Community members are hoping he can turn Allentown's William Allen High around.
You'll rarely see Shannon Mayfield at his desk.
"I don't need a desk," he said. "I don't really need an office. Can't run a school from an office."
For Allen High's new principal, the classroom is his office.
"I'm engaged; I'm involved," he said. "It's the way I was trained. It's the way I was molded."
But for Mayfield, the learning curve will be short. The city is looking for him to improve Allen after years of low test scores and off-campus violence, including a student machete attack two years ago.
The school has had four principals in two years. Most people run from a job like that, but Mayfield ran toward it.
Then again, Mayfield is not your normal principal. After a career as a Georgia state trooper and counter-terrorism agent, he helped turn around struggling schools in Detroit and Atlanta.
"I've been in environments that are worse," he said. "It's not one of the toughest cities I've been in."
Mayfield believes Allentown's issues are similar though: getting kids from different cultures and backgrounds -- often newly arrived from bigger cities -- to get along and work.
"While we talk about crime, while we talk about negative elements, my job as an academic principal is to minimize those distractions," he said.
Mayfield says he'll be in his "office" every day to make sure of it.