Newton County BOE appoint new principals to two schools

Dr. Ryan James and Dr. Kristopher Williams were unanimously approved to serve as principal at Rocky Plains Elementary and Alcovy High School for the 2019-20 school year, respectively.

COVINGTON — By unanimous vote, the Newton County Board of Education approved the appointment of two new principals Tuesday evening.

Ryan James will serve as the new principal for Rocky Plains Elementary School, and Kristopher Williams will take the helm at Alcovy High School for the 2019-20 school year. Both men currently serve as assistant principals in the district.

“We conducted several interviews for each of our two principal vacancies, and it is always exciting when the top candidate is someone from within,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of the Newton County School System. “To have not one but two sitting assistant principals selected for principalship positions shows the depth we have in our pool of administrators as we have worked diligently to grow our own leaders.”

James earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Savannah State University and a master’s in middle grades education from Armstrong Atlantic State University, also in Savannah.

He obtained his leadership certification from Mercer University, Atlanta, and completed all the requirements for his doctorate in educational leadership at Argosy University Atlanta.

James is the middle school assistant principal at Newton County Theme School, where he has served as the testing coordinator, professional learning facilitator, safety administrator and more. Prior to his transfer to the Newton County Theme School in 2018, James served as an assistant principal at Live Oak Elementary School for five years, where his major duties included Title I administrator, pre-K director, PBIS administrator, RTI administrator, bus transportation administrator, parental involvement coordinator and stakeholder communication and outreach coordinator.

He will succeed departing principal Miranda Jones, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as principal of Rocky Plains Elementary School,” said James. “I believe that educators have the power to change the direction of young lives and have a positive effect on the lives of future generations. As principal, I am ultimately responsible for the learning, safety, and emotional growth of our students and teachers. As we work together, we will aim to operate in excellence and ensure that we are preparing students to be well rounded and prepared for the future. My goal is to provide a positive environment that emphasizes student achievement and lifelong learning. I look forward to serving the Rocky Plains Elementary School community.”

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a master of education in business education from the University of West Georgia, Carrollton. He earned his education specialist degree in educational leadership from Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, and holds a doctorate of education in educational leadership, also from Liberty University.

Williams is an assistant principal and Ninth Grade Academy principal at Alcovy High School. During his tenure at Alcovy, Williams has rebranded the athletic department, increased visibility for the school utilizing social media, increased athletic scholarships, and worked to help increase both ACT and SAT scores and the school’s graduation rate.

Williams began his educational career as a business education teacher with the City Schools of Decatur before joining the Newton County School System team as a technology teacher at Clements and Liberty middle schools. While serving as a teacher at Liberty Middle School, Williams gained valuable leadership experience by serving as the assistant student affairs administrator, director of the after school activity program and 21st Century Afterschool program, and assistant testing coordinator. Williams was promoted to assistant principal of Alcovy in 2014 and has served in that capacity ever since. He will replace departing principal Sandra Owens, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

“First and foremost I would like to say that it is an honor and privilege to be named the new principal of Alcovy High School,” said Williams. “I look forward to building upon the solid foundation that Dr. Owens has built over the past six years. Academically, I would like to have students show growth, progress and improvement. In terms of student life, I would like to have more students involved in sports, clubs and organizations. I want everyone inside of the building to be proud to be an Alcovy Tiger.”

“I am confident that both Dr. James and Dr. Williams will continue the culture of high expectations at Rocky Plains and Alcovy, and I am sure that their knowledge, care, and commitment will lead to continued student and staff success at both schools,” Fuhrey said.