The big news from Tuesday night's special called workshop of the Dade County Board of Education is that the principals of Dade High and Davis Elementary schools will switch jobs next year.
Josh Ingle (left), principal of Dade County High School, will become principal of Davis Elementary as of June 1, and James Fahrney (below, right), current principal of Davis, will take over as principal of the high school.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris read an announcement of the transfer after she and the board returned from a 72-minute executive, or closed-door, session to discuss personnel.
"Both of these distinguished educators possess the skills, education, experience and passion for this recommended transfer," she read.
After the meeting, Dr. Harris specified that the transfer was voluntary for both principals, and that it was common for contract administrators in Georgia to seek this sort of transfer. And she pointed out that Ingle's job before Dade High was as principal of Dade Elementary, while Farhney had been assistant principal at a high school.
Ingle, questioned by The Planet as to whether he was returning to an age student he particularly enjoyed, was tight-lipped. "I'm looking forward to it," he said.
In her announcement, Dr. Harris praised both principals for their accomplishments at their current schools. Before Ingle, she said, DCHS had had seven principals in 10 years. During the seven years he has led the high school--Ingle himself, incidentally, put the number at eight--he had brought a sense of stability, promoting student gains in a variety of state assessments and bringing the graduation rate up to 95 percent.
During James Fahrney's five years as principal of Davis, she said, discipline infractions decreased by more than 75 percent within the first two years, the school had soared up the ranks in statewide ratings, and aftercare and mentoring programs had been established. "I'm confident that both of these outstanding leaders will be assets to their schools," concluded Dr. Harris.
In other business, the superintendent announced good news for Dade Elementary School: that it had won a Gold Award in the Greatest Gains category of the Single Statewide Assessment System (SSAS), meaning that its growth in student academic achievement was in the top 3 percent of Georgia schools.
The board heard presentations on new accreditation standards from Jennifer Reese and a report on needed upgrades to the school system's wireless and phone networks from Chris Greene.
Associate Superintendent Billy Hooker gave an update on capital projects at the schools. The new middle school cross-country track should be finished in time for school opening next year, he said, only there's one snag: The board must stop calling it that and learn to say "cross country court." Athletic pros had explained to him the difference, which The Planet regrettably failed to grasp. In any case: "It is very different from the idea of a track," said Hooker.
Also to be completed this summer is work at the Dade Elementary gym. Lest the material that must be sprayed on the walls there trigger allergic reactions, it had been decided to do this work while the students are out for the summer. The DES bleachers will be replaced at this time, too, said Hoooker.
Hooker said he will update the board additionally next week at its regular monthly meeting about renovations at the high school but that the fire alarm there needs looking at ASAP. "Doesn't it go off quite often?" inquired the superintendent.
Could this be a hint as to the decision of the high school's current principal to decamp, and resume life where student hands are closer to the ground and further away from the BREAK GLASS PRESS HERE button? Follow The Planet's ongoing school coverage for the answer to this and other interesting questions.
The school board's regular January meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at the Board of Education's office off 136 East in front of the high school.