Rutherford County Schools Announces Four New Principals


Four new principals are stepping into leadership roles with RCS for the 22-23 school year. All come with incredible experience in education and leadership.

Justin Smith, Principal of Blackman High School: Smith has worked in education since 2001, most recently as vice principal at Blackman High School. He previously worked as an educational coach and teacher.

Manager Sullivan noted Smith’s experience: “Mr. Smith has been integral to the success of BHS. He has been a teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal for the past 21 years. His servant leadership has already had positive impacts on the entire Blackman community, and we look forward to seeing the school continue to reach new heights under his leadership.

This “servant attitude” will continue to benefit students at Blackman High. Smith, knowing the culture at Blackman High, is well positioned to implement change while preserving the essential foundations that make BHS successful.

“Blackman High School has a strong school culture that is built around purpose, history, connection and growth,” Smith said. “It is important to me that these fundamental pillars remain and be strengthened. That being said, we live in an ever-changing world. School safety and socio-emotional needs are at the forefront of our concerns.

Dr. Kelly Newberry, Principal of Rockvale Middle School: Dr. Newberry most recently served as Vice-Principal at Rockvale Middle School and has worked in education since 1991. Years of teaching experience illustrates how Newberry is always in touch with teachers in class – an essential experience for an effective director.

Beyond the educational experience, Newberry has proven that she knows how to lead a team.

“Dr. Newberry is a strong leader with management experience outside of the educational setting,” Principal Sullivan said. “She worked under Mr. Fred Barlow as Vice Principal at Rockvale Middle School, and she has gained experience in all areas of operating one of our largest and most successful colleges.”

Developing relationships is important for an effective leader. Getting to know a school and its history is equally important for successful leadership and building a culture.

“I’ve been both a teacher and a vice principal at this school and there’s no place I’d rather pursue my career as a principal,” Dr Newberry said. “Rockvale has always been a high performing school and my goal is to maintain that level of excellence.”

With a solid leadership background at RMS and a doctorate in administration and supervision, Newberry is ready to take on the lead role.

“As an invested member of the RMS community, Dr. Newberry will continue to ensure Rockvale Middle provides only the best opportunities for the school, students and community,” Principal Sullivan said.

Brad Decker will serve as manager of Oakland Middle: A former vice-principal, with twelve years of education experience, Mr. Decker is no stranger to leadership. He served as vice principal at both Oakland High and Rocky Fork Middle.

According to Director Sullivan: “Mr. Decker has kind of come home to Oakland Middle School. He was the first staff member when WHO opened, and his leadership eventually involved all aspects of the school’s operation, including as a teacher, PLC manager, coach, athletic director, dean and designated principal.

His experience as vice-principal at Oakland Middle School and Rocky Fork Middle School, along with his past four years at Oakland High School, helped Decker create a leadership plan that will be effective in pushing the school toward greater success. .

“During the interview, Mr. Decker impressed the panel as he provided a solid plan to increase academic achievement and community involvement at Oakland Middle School,” principal Sullivan remarked.

When asked why he applied and his plans for the school, Decker reiterated his experience as well as his hope for forming new relationships:

“I look forward to working alongside students, teachers, parents and Oakland community stakeholders to create an effective and safe learning environment,” Decker said. “I think my experience as a former teacher, coach and dean at Oakland Middle, my time as vice-principal at Oakland High, and the relationships I’ve formed as a member of the Oakland community will allow us to take Oakland Middle School. to new heights.

Dr. Alexandria Jackson, director of Roy Waldron: Dr. Jackson previously served as Vice Principal at JE Moss Elementary School in Metro Nashville Public Schools. She has worked in the field of education since 2006 and holds a doctorate in education in learning organizations and strategic change.

Although she has never worked at RCS before, Dr. Jackson is no stranger to pushing teachers and students to be all they can be.

“Dr. Jackson comes to Rutherford County via Metro Nashville Public Schools where she is currently a vice principal at JE Moss Elementary,” Principal Sullivan said. teaching and organizational learning Dr. Jackson will be able to use these experiences to ensure the academic growth of our students at RWS.

Dr. Jackson plans to move from Nashville to Rutherford County and establish his residence here. Although such a move is difficult, Dr. Jackson sees it as an integral part of his plan for the Roy Waldron School.

“I am passionate about serving the communities I live in, and as a relatively new resident of Rutherford County, this was an opportunity to invest in the county I live in and immerse myself in the learning from Rutherford County Schools,” Dr. Jackson said. .

As a principal, connecting with students, teachers, and the community is an important part of charting a course for student academic success. If we cannot learn from others first, we cannot expect to teach them.

Dr. Jackson’s enthusiasm for joining RCS and Roy Waldron gave him the edge needed to successfully lead the school. There is no doubt that this joy will serve his students and staff in the coming year.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Roy Waldron School community and my goal is to help students, teachers and the RWS community,” said Dr. Jackson. “I know Roy Waldron is a special place and my goal is to ensure that every student and staff member succeeds.”


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