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‘Getting Acquainted’

Administrators adjust to new jobs, new schools

Marie Hall, Thalise Perry, Milton Watson and Delmon Moore have a lot in common, being that they all are a week or less into new jobs in the Clayton County School System, trying to adjust to new locations, new students, new co-workers –– and in some cases –– markedly different duties.

The four assistant principals were promoted to, or transferred to, their new jobs during the Sept. 12 school board meeting, on the recommendation of School Superintendent Edmond Heatley.

Marie Hall, formally the Language Arts teacher at Kendrick Middle school, is now the assistant principal at Sequoyah Middle School; Delmon Moore, formerly an Instructional Facilitator, is assistant principal at Jackson Elementary School; Thalise Perry, also formerly an Instructional Facilitator, is now assistant principal at Kendrick Middle School; and Milton Watson, who was the assistant principal at Church Street Elementary School, has moved up a bit in grade level as an assistant principal at Drew High School.

At Jackson Elementary, Moore –– who replaced former assistant principal Duane Roberts –– said he has officially been in his new position for a week, and the transition has been positive, so far. The only bump in the road, he said, is getting acclimated with the school’s curriculum and ways of doing things. “It’s a lot to learn,” he said. “I’m the only assistant principal [for the school], so it’s been quite a learning curve.”

However, with a multitude of support from the teachers and staff, said Moore, the burden has been lightened. “The teachers have taken me under their wings and are making sure I get [familiar with the school.] And the principal has given me anything I needed.”

Marie Hall, the new assistant principal at Sequoyah Middle school, replaced Russell Keith, who is now the principal at Kendrick Middle School. She said she, too, has had a smooth transition. In fact, she said, Sequoyah Middle School is the “perfect fit,” and she loves “the leadership of the school’s principal, Lonnie J. White.”

White returned the compliment, saying he is “extremely happy” with Hall. Hall also praised the leadership skills of Kimberly Dugger, the school’s other assistant principal. “Dr. Dugger has been extremely supportive from day one,” she said.

When asked if she has had any disciplinary issues with students, or run-ins with parents, since being in the school, Hall said the challenges have been minimal. Tuesday afternoon, however, she said she had a few incidents with students and had to “lay down the law.” But, she said she was able to call the students’ parents and resolve the issues. “I had a great meeting with the [parents],” She said. “It’s about building relationships, and developing a relationship with the parents, so we [all] feel like we’re fighting for the same cause. This really makes a difference.”

Over at Drew High School, Milton Watson seemed to have his hands full on Tuesday morning as he prepared to monitor 500 or so freshman during their lunch hour. Watson said he’s been in his new position since Monday, and, so far, it’s been a little stressful. “I’m [still getting] acclimated with the lay of the land, the school environment, and the culture of the [students],” he said.

He added that his major responsibility is monitoring and disciplining the ninth-grade class. He shared, during the freshmen’s lunch hour, that there had been a “situation” that got a little out of control. He declined to elaborate, but said that, as a result, he and the school’s principal, Gary Townsend, had to keep a close watch on the ninth-grade crowd, during lunch on Tuesday.

Thalise Perry, at Kendrick Middle School, had nothing but good things to say about her transition into the new position. Like Watson, she has been in her new school since Monday, and has been busy getting acquainted with the new environs.

She gave kudos to the staff and teachers for their support during her transition. “Everything has been wonderful,” said the new assistant principal. “I enjoy working with the administrative team. The teachers are really on board. I couldn’t ask to be in a better school, and I’m looking forward to a wonderful year.”

When asked what their goals were for the school year, all had similar answers: Focusing on student achievement. Both Moore and Perry, who have strong backgrounds in mathematics, said they will work with teachers and students in implementing new learning strategies to improve the math scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).

Hall said she, too, will work with students and staff, and use some of her instructional skills in Language Arts, to help improve CRCT performance. She also added that she wanted to build relationships, and collaborate with more businesses in the community.

Watson said his goal is to continue to maintain a safe and orderly environment for students, and push to increase academic achievement.