New principal excited about move to Vicksburg

Published 7:21 pm Monday, July 31, 2017

New Vicksburg High School principal Angela Johnson has done it all throughout her career.

She has worked as teacher, curriculum coordinator, a middle school principal and for the last three years as the superintendent of the Hollandale School District.

“My journey has taken a few twists and turns, but I am excited about being a principal again,” Johnson said.

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Johnson said she was offered the chance to remain as superintendent in Hollandale for an additional three years, but she was ready to be back in the school working directly with students.

“You get to a point where it is an exciting adventure,” Johnson said. “I am at that stage in my career where I can do those things that I am truly passionate about and working with students is that.”

She will now have the chance to put everything she learned running a school district to good use as Vicksburg High goes through a major transformation this year along with Warren Central High School.

Starting this year, the high schools will be among 25 worldwide to introduce the Leader in Me program.

“As we go through this process we will all grow together,” Johnson said. “It will be an opportunity for students to grow as leaders. It will also help teachers. I think we will see a change in how instruction is carried out.”

They will also be implementing a new career academy structure through a partnership with the Vicksburg Warren School District and Ford Next Generation Learning.

“There will be some bumps in the road, but there will also be the possibility for a lot of growth and there will be the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of teachers and administrators,” Johnson said.

Johnson has officially been on the job at VHS for a month, and that time has been spent working with her fellow administrators, the teachers and even students to implement the changes.

“I really believe that as we implement this, we are going to have periods where we will pause, reflect and look at what is working and regroup if it is not working,” Johnson said. “I think in the long run, we will be pretty successful this year.”

Students will also notice changes outside of the curriculum when they return for the start of the school year. The walls are being painted throughout the school including brighter colors in some classrooms. New desks have also been ordered that will enable students to better work as groups when needed and also as individuals.

The changes are part of Johnson’s goal of improving communication at the school.

“In conversations I have had with teachers and the students I have had the opportunity to speak with, I think communication is the key,” Johnson said. “I think the more communication we provide, the more feedback, the more interaction that we have, I think that is going to be the biggest turning point for us at Vicksburg High.”

The improvements in communication do not end at the school level either. Johnson said one of her goals is to be more proactive at sharing good news about the school with the community.

Along with communication, Johnson has identified staff turnover as major obstacle to Vicksburg High being successful, and something she intends to rectify.

“In terms of teacher turnover, we are putting into place a system of teacher support,” Johnson said. “We want teachers to know that we are there to help them. We don’t want any teacher to feel isolated or if there is something that they need assistance with we are going to make a conscientious effort to provide it for them.”

A teacher support system is among her goals, or guideposts as she calls them, for what she hopes to accomplish during this school year.

“One of our primary goals is to have the majority of our teaching staff back for 18-19,” she said.” I have guideposts and that is what we are following this year. Basically five guideposts. Three are a strong, solid intervention system for students, solid academy structures and solid mechanisms for teacher support and development.”

After working as a superintendent for three years, Johnson is right where she wants to be and when given the chance to return to running a school the answer was yes for one simple reason.

“I got to the point where I missed being around the students,” Johnson said.