Cecil Strong says he hopes to continue the academic and athletic success that Thomson High School has experienced.
At its June 9 meeting, the McDuffie County school board approved Strong's appointment to succeed departing principal Rudy Falana.
For the past three years, Strong has served as the principal of the McDuffie Achievement Center.
The board also named Aaron Hall head baseball coach. Hall, who served as an assistant under coach Jason Osborn, was recommended for the job by Osborn.
Strong said he and his wife, Sonya, who is from Thomson and teaches math at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School, have four children.
"We have a vested interest in the community and don't plan on moving" he said. "I'm already in the system, and that will help with the transition."
Strong said Monday that he has talked with Falana on the phone but had not yet met with him.
He said that in light of all the transition at the high school, one of his first goals will be "to pull everybody back as a team and focus on academics."
"Thomson High School has made great strides with the graduation rate, and that says a lot about our community and our academic system," he said.
He noted that some people put more emphasis on test results. But, he said, "the graduation rate is a great indicator of success also."
Strong has served as an assistant principal at Thomson High and at the junior high school. He has a master's degree in education from Augusta State University and a specialist's degree from Cambridge College.
"I'm going to try my best. I'm going to do my best," he said.
Superintendent Jim LeBrun said that a number of candidates were interviewed for the position but that Strong was the leading candidate from the outset.
"I think he's going to be a strong leader for the high school," LeBrun said, noting Strong's earlier tenure there as an assistant principal and his strong leadership at the MAC.
"He's very experienced, very knowledgeable, knows the community, knows the students, knows the parents," LeBrun said.
"He has been preparing himself for this position basically his entire career. He can basically relate to and talk to anybody."