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New principal at HCHS already on the job

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By Cindy DiFazio

BY CINDY DIFAZIO

Staff writer/Photographer

When Henry County middle and high school students walk through the school doors in August, they will be greeted by new principals.

Incoming Henry County High School Principal Jim Masters is enthusiastic about coming to this district. He says that he liked Henry County from the very first time he visited. “I feel so blessed,” Masters said. “I was really careful about my choice. I did my homework on the community and the school.”

Masters comes to Henry County from the Department of Education in Frankfort where he was a Highly Skilled Education Administrator. His job was to help low performing schools improve their academic indices.

Married 11 years, he and his wife have three daughters, ages four, three and one. “I look forward to bringing my daughters to football games in the near future,” Masters said.

Citing innovations such as the media and tech-ed programs, he pointed out that Henry County Public Schools is a progressive district that is poised to move further forward in the next four years. Masters said that he deeply admires outgoing principal, Graham Wied as well as assistant principal Zach Woods and hopes to build on their successes. “I wanted to be somewhere I knew I could make a difference,” he said.

Masters also complimented Superintendent Tim Abrams. “He has a super relationship with the board,” he said.

Masters noted that because of the enormous physical changes to HCHS, this will be a year of transition for students and faculty. “I want to make sure that the school remains orderly through these changes,” he said.

Since his arrival, Masters has tried to meet and talk with each teacher individually. He intends to create a leadership team utilizing teachers to facilitate his plan for the school which, he said, can be summed up in four questions:

• What do we expect students to learn?

• How do we know that they’ve learned?

• What will we do if they have not?

• What will we do when they have?

Masters will replace Graham Wied who retired from the HCPS district at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

Before relocating to Kentucky, Wied was a teacher and administrator in Texas.

He taught Language Arts and Social Studies at HCHS before taking on the role of assistant principal and then principal.

Abrams said that Wied is a very accomplished and innovative educator. “He has accomplished many things in his tenure,” he said. Abrams noted that Wied implemented the vocational program, “High Schools at Work,” as well as starting the media program and the tech ed program.

Abrams said that Wied was a proponent of the transition program for freshmen designed to ease students’ transition from middle to high school. He was also instrumental in bringing Thoughtful Education programs to the high school. Thoughtful Education uses instructional strategies to tailor education to the needs of individual pupils.

Along the way Wied has garnered many awards for his service to student organizations. Abrams said that the list would be a very long one, but offered a few of Wied’s pet projects - FFA (Future Farmers of America), the Media Program and the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).

“He has been an instrumental part of Henry County for many years,” Abrams said.

Henry County Middle School will also see a change in principals. Principal Steve Swank will put on a new hat in the 2008-09 school year. Swank has resigned that position to become the district’s Dropout Prevention Coordinator.

Superintendent Abrams said that Henry County Public Schools did not meet the No Child Left Behind quota for graduating seniors in the 2007-08 school year. This led to the creation of the Dropout Prevention Coordinator position.

According to the board of education’s approved job description, the coordinator’s job goals are to provide programming and support to identify potential dropouts by addressing those problems that prevent or interfere with the student’s learning. Swank will begin working with at-risk children from the elementary, middle and high schools this fall.

Abrams said that the middle school has received many applications for the principal’s position. The site-based council will conduct interviews beginning on July 7. They hope to choose a new principal the following week.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.