The tight ship at Thomson High School is about to get a little tighter. There will soon be a new leader at the helm of THS.
Rudolph Falana, who has been principal at Screven County High School for the past seven years, was approved to replace the retiring Bill Reese as principal of Thomson High during the Board of Education meeting on March 11.
Board members and school officials alike are excited about the addition of Mr. Falana to the staff at THS.
"Thomson High School folks, get ready to buckle your chin straps," Dr. Ed Grisham, McDuffie County superintendent of schools said during the board meeting. "We have been told he runs a tight ship. ... He's eager to work with the faculty there, and he has some great ideas."
School officials were also glad to hear that Mr. Falana's style of leadership is not one that will "dictate from top down," as Dr. Grisham said.
Raising test scores and increasing advanced placement classes at Thomson High are two of Mr. Falana's main priorities. He also told the board that he intends to form a leadership team made up of faculty and staff to focus on raising test scores at the school.
"It's already a good school for one, and I don't want anybody to think that it's not," Mr. Falana said. "But at any school or any situation you're in, you can tweak some things to make it even better. I just foresee Thomson actually being one of the top 10 schools in the state."
Mr. Falana stressed that the results he hopes to get will not take place overnight. He said it is a process that will take several years.
"I want people to understand that it's not a quick-fix scheme or anything," he said. "It's going to take time to get from step one to step 10 or wherever we need to get...It's going to take more than one year; it's probably going to take more than two years."
Dr. Grisham said that Mr. Falana's qualifications impressed everyone involved in the interview process. He added that the beliefs of the next THS principal line up with what has been done in the past.
"I feel real good," Dr. Grisham said. "I think he has excellent credentials. He was very impressive in the interview process. We think he stands for things that we believe in like improved academic performance at the school."
Mr. Falana, who was given a two-year contract, follows in the footsteps of Thomson High School's head football coach Luther Welsh who moved from Screven County for his second stint at Thomson in 1998. Mr. Falana will officially start on July 1.
School officials are also currently trying to fill another administration position at THS after Assistant Principal Bobby Caldwell announced his retirement last month.