Roan Elementary will have a new principal for the 2020-21 school year, but it's a very familiar face: Charlie Tripp, the assistant principal who has been an educator at Roan for nearly three decades.
Tripp started her teaching career at Roan and has spent the last 28 years serving there in various positions. She'll finally take the top spot on July 1, as the retirement of current principal Cindy Parrott will become official at the end of the academic year.
“Educational excellence impacts an entire community for years to come,” and during her 28 years at Roan "I have had the opportunity to see Roan School students become successful adults in the Dalton community," Tripp stated in a press release from Dalton Public Schools. "I see them working in our local banks, doctor's offices, the hospital, restaurants, attorney's offices, restaurants, retail, floorcovering and in Dalton Public Schools."
"Education is the realization of hope for the future, and our future looks bright in Dalton Public Schools," Tripp added. "I have three quotes that I share with my staff continuously: 'Always be kinder than necessary, relationships make all endeavors possible, and may the best always be yet to come for our Roan Bobcats.'"
Tripp holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and master’s and specialist’s degrees from the University of West Georgia, according to Dalton Public Schools. She started her career as a second-grade teacher at Roan in 1992; she has also worked as a pre-kindergarten teacher, an Early Intervention Program (EIP) teacher, a literacy coach and — since 2009 — assistant principal.
The Dalton Board of Education approved her ascension to principal during Monday night's meeting. The system will post the assistant principal opening and look to fill that position as soon as possible.
Matt Evans, chairman of the school board, has known Tripp for decades, and "we're real proud of (her)," he said. "We are super fired up for (Tripp) and Roan."
Sam Sanders, a fellow member of the school board, said he "couldn't be happier to vote 'Yes'" on Tripp's promotion.
"I've known her for a long time," Sanders said. "I'm so excited for Tripp and Roan."
When Roan celebrated its 50th birthday in September 2019, both Parrott and Tripp marveled at the communal atmosphere that's developed among teachers, staff, students and families at the school.
"We're one big family," Parrott, who has spent her entire 27-year career in education at Roan — nearly half of those years as principal — explained in September. "That's how I feel about the parents and students, and they are full of love."
Roan is a quintessential community school, where 90% of students reside within a half-mile of the building, and "we're the only school that keeps our playground open at night for our families," Tripp said in September. "We're a caring community here, (and) the best is yet to come for Roan."
The school board also honored several schools and individuals for accomplishments during the meeting.
Dalton High School was named an AP (Advanced Placement) Access and Support School and an AP STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) School, as well as a Beating the Odds school. City Park Elementary was also celebrated for Beating the Odds in a report released in December by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement.
"Beating the Odds is a statistical analysis that compares a school’s actual performance on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) with the performance of schools with similar characteristics across the state," according to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. "The following school characteristics are included in the calculation: percentage of economically-disadvantaged students; percentage of English language learners; percentage of students with disabilities; percentage of students in each race/ethnicity; percentage of female students; student mobility; school size; whether a school is defined as nontraditional (according to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement); and school type (elementary, middle, high and schools that span grade clusters)."
AP Access and Support Schools are those with at least 30% of AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African American and/or Hispanic and 30% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher, according to the Georgia Department of Education. AP STEM Schools are those with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses.
Dalton High School senior Brissa Fraire was honored for being named to the Georgia All-State Band. Dalton Middle School students Kolbi Bonds, William Carlson, Michael Idung, Cheyenne Nellinger, Carlos Perez, Sara Ramirez and Tony Zamora were selected for All-District Band.
Matt Land, the head coach of Dalton High School's football team, was recently named the 2019 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, and a representative from the office of U.S. Sen. David Perdue delivered a commendation letter from the senator to Land during the school board meeting.
According to the NFL, the Don Shula Award was created "to honor exemplary high school football coaches for their character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success."
Land was able to attend both the Pro Bowl, where he met several star NFL players, and the Super Bowl. Land was selected for the award by a panel including Shula, Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, Super Bowl winners Willie McGinest and Mark Brunell and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.
Land explained that individuals are hired for most professions, but coaching is the rare métier where one is "chosen," and he urged others to live as if they've also been chosen for a special calling. He added that perhaps the highlights of his Don Shula experience were talking about — and bragging on — the Dalton community, Dalton Public Schools and Dalton High School.
Land's been Dalton's head football coach since 2010, and, before that, he was a community coach for the Catamounts football team for 17 years. A Dalton native, Land was a captain of Dalton's football team and graduated from Dalton High in 1988.
The next scheduled meeting of the school board is on Monday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall council chambers.