Thursday, May 19, 2005

City school district selects principal


A new leader has been hired for Holly Springs High School.

Adam Andrews will be leaving his job as principal at Forrest County Agricultural High School near Hattiesburg for the same position at Holly High. His hiring was approved on Tuesday evening of last week by the board of trustees. He will likely start in mid-June and will replace a retiring Dorsey Patterson.

Judy Smith, superintendent of education, said four applicants were interviewed by a committee of five comprised of Glen Bridgeforth, president of the Concerned Parents Association; Harvey Payne, parent and business person; Craven Turnage, high school staff; Dorlean Gibson, junior high teacher; and Cherrie Shaw, assistant superintendent.

“This is the process the district has used for a while,” Smith said.

She said there is a rating sheet of 1 to 5, and each individual interviewer rates the applicants and adds up the points. Then an average rating is calculated from the committee members as a whole.

“Mr. Andrews was the number one applicant based on the average of their ratings,” said Smith, who sat in on the interviews but did not rate. “My recommendation to the board is based upon their ratings.”

Andrews, 35, has served two years as principal at FCAHS. The school is a Level 4 (exemplary) with hopes of being a Level 5 (superior) when the latest test scores are released this summer.

He was also assistant principal at Coffeeville for one year and Lafayette County for five years. Prior to moving to an administrative role, he taught social studies five years at Hickory Flat.

“His strongest point will be in the area of curriculum,” Smith said. “He is at a school that is only percentage points from a Level 5.”

She said strong comments about Andrews from those who have worked with him included “good with staff relations, handles discipline well and very strong in curriculum.”

“We were looking for a good instructional leader to take up where Mr. Patterson left off,” Smith said.

While he was at Lafayette County, the high school went from Level 4 to Level 5.

“Everywhere I’ve been test scores have increased, and that’s what we want to continue at Holly Springs,” Andrews said.

Holly Springs High is a Level 2 (under-performing) school.

The newly-hired principal said he is looking forward to returning to Northeast Mississippi. His wife’s grandparents were from Oxford, and she still has family in the area. He is originally from Jackson and has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ole Miss.

“Holly Springs is a well organized school district,” Andrews said. “Everything is in order for it to be successful, and coming back to Northeast Mississippi also attracted me.

He will be moving from a ninth-12th grade school with 572 students to a seventh-12th position with approximately 820 students.

Andrews has also served as an athletic director. He said extracurricular activities are important, but not the top priority.

“The main focus of any school has to be school,” he said. “All extracurricular activities come second. I have found that the better the students are in the classroom, the better your extracurricular activities will be.”

Andrews and his wife Dina have two sons, Addison, 11, and Will, 9.

Superintendent Smith, who is retiring this summer, said a reception is being planned to welcome the new principal. Details will be released at a later date.

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