Monday night, Principal Dr. Wes Dickey was traded from Woodland High School to a middle school to be renamed later.At its monthly meeting, the Bartow County School Board approved 5-0 transferring …
Monday night, Principal Dr. Wes Dickey was traded from Woodland High School to a middle school to be renamed later.
At its monthly meeting, the Bartow County School Board approved 5-0 transferring Dickey to South Central Middle School to take over for Principal Tia Windsor, who is retiring at the end of the school year.
As the new principal, Dickey will be charged with leading the rebranding project for the Emerson middle school, which will include a new name, colors and mascot.
“Dr. Dickey, I’m so excited that you’re going to be leading us in this journey to rebrand South Central,” Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page said. “There’s no one more respected in our school system than you, and I’m very thankful that you’re taking on this awesome responsibility of leading that staff, leading that community of the city of Emerson, and there are so many good things on the way. I really appreciate you being the next principal of some school in Bartow County.”
Dickey, who emailed his staff members before the meeting so they would hear about his leaving from him, said he’s spent the “majority of my educational career in the high school setting,” but his first love is middle school.
“After 11 years, I went to Woodland Middle School as assistant principal and really just did that just to get middle school experience, never realizing how much I’d grow to love it at the middle school,” he said.
He’s ping-ponged between Woodland Middle and Woodland High to gain more experience as a school leader or to fill a need the school system had or to finally be in the same building with his youngest daughter, “but I still love middle school more,” he said.
“I like the middle school better, solely because, to me, you can have a bigger influence on the kids at the middle school,” he said. “But with my high school experience and knowing what’s required at the high school and how there’s such a big disconnect between eighth grade and ninth grade, I can use that at the middle school to try and bridge that gap. That’s what I was trying to do that one year I was at Woodland Middle [as principal] then all of a sudden, I’m up at Woodland High again.”
At South Central, Dickey said he will “still be part of the Wildcat family” since SCMS feeds into Woodland High.
“But the good thing there is I get to influence two high schools — I get to influence Woodland High School and Cass High School — so what I do in there is going to impact both of their graduation rates,” he said. Dickey, who didn’t want to leave Bartow County to be a middle school principal, also said he’s “so excited” and “not at all” nervous about the rebranding process.
“It’s just going to be a great thing to be a part of, and I’ll be the first principal of whatever school that is, whatever name we come up with,” he said. “I think it’s just so cool, creating a new identity like that, and I know the faculty there, even though I haven’t met them yet, is excited about it, just because I know when Dr. Page and Ms. Windsor announced that to their staff, they said they stood and gave a standing ovation. If you’ve got your staff that are on board with something like that, that speaks volumes right there, that they want something like that.”
On May 7, a committee made up of Dickey, Windsor, rising sixth-graders, seventh-graders and eighth-graders, teachers and community members will meet for a day of “hammering it all out that day to get it done” so everything will be in place by the start of school in August, Dickey said.
But one thing he was dreading was the meeting he was having Tuesday with his Woodland staff, which he’s led for the past three years.
“It’s going to be hard tomorrow morning, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “It’s going to be hard because I’ve been with that group for many years, back and forth from Woodland Middle to Woodland High, and hopefully they’ll see the reasoning and that you’ve got to go where your love is. Who knows when there would’ve been another opportunity at a middle school in Bartow County? It was just something that I couldn’t pass up.”
Page said “just conversations between the two of us” led to Dickey’s transfer.
“He indicated that he had a love for middle school and middle school students and staff, and he has such a love for the Emerson community so when he heard that South Central was going to have a principal opening and that we were going through the rebranding, he just got really excited, and we had some conversations, and that led to tonight,” he said.
The superintendent repeatedly used the word “success” in describing why Dickey was a good choice for the school.
“He has a track of success,” he said. “Everywhere he has been, he’s been successful. The schools which he had led and those students have been successful. I’m thrilled that he’s going to be leading us in this next phase.”
The board also unanimously approved Page’s recommendation of David Stephenson, an assistant principal at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, to replace Dickey as principal of Woodland.
“I am honored and excited to join the Woodland community and help support the rich tradition of excellence that Dr. Dickey, Woodland staff and community stakeholders have helped build over the last 22 years,” Stephenson said. “I am attracted to the energy in the Woodland and Bartow communities and can think of no finer school community to help support over the months and years ahead.”
In other business, board members unanimously approved:
⁃ Selling 8.9 acres off Old Alabama Road to the highest bidder, Galen McDaniel of Cartersville, for $120,000.
⁃ Awarding the contract for renovations to the family and consumer science room at Woodland High to low bidder McWhorter Goss General Contractors at a cost of $71,581.13, to be paid from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
⁃ Awarding the contract for renovations to the central registration facility to low bidder McWhorter Goss General Contractors at a cost of $567,213, also to be paid from SPLOST funds.
⁃ Renewing and upgrading the school system’s current Microsoft subscription agreement to Microsoft 365 A5 at a cost of $203,549.44.
⁃ Renewing a three-year contract with Schoology, the system’s learning management system, at a cost of $69,550 a year or $208,650 for three years.