The new principal of West Jessamine High School has been chosen from a field of 20 applicants. Current assistant principal Dr. Scott Wells will take over after 2013-2014 interim principal Mr. Ken Cox at the end of the school year.
Over the past few months, West’s site-based decision-making (SBDM) council has been conducting focus groups with parents, students, and teachers, collecting a wide range of information and opinions about what West needs in a new principal. Of the 20 applicants, only four were selected for interviews with our SBDM council, which occurred on March 5. The announcement of Wells for the position came on the morning of March 6.
Wells will be taking the place of current interim principal Ken Cox. The need for a one-year interim arose from the finalization of former principal Ed Jones’ demotion not happening until after the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Wells will begin his new role on July 1, 2014, and it is still undecided who will take his place as assistant principal.
Wells is a member of the Jessamine County High School class of 1981 and, after working in Florida for 20 years, returned to West to serve as a guidance counselor for a year and then as assistant principal for seven. Barring unusual circumstances, he has said that he “hopes to work at West until retirement.”
Regarding Wells’ short-term goals for when he becomes principal, he hopes to have a school-wide standards-based grading policy put in place by the beginning of next school year. Standards-based classes, operating on the concept of students being able to relearn material and retake assessments until mastery of learning standards has been reached, have been used by a few West teachers on a somewhat independent basis, but Wells would like to see this method of learning in every class.
Additional goals are to see a 0.5-point improvement in the school’s average ACT score, the addition of school wrestling and bass fishing teams (given student interest) and expansion of the arts programs, ideally allowing more opportunities for our bands and choirs to perform at various venues.
Wells also feels that West is approaching the point of being able to support an International Baccalaureate (IB) program concurrently with our already strong AP program and tentatively hopes to begin that process in 3-5 years.
Commenting on the daily aspects of being a school administrator, Wells stated that he “loves to be out and about interacting with students,” and looks forward to performing his duties as the new principal.