Editorial: Knox needs fresh layer of stability
In Salisbury years, Knox Middle School is not so old. Built as a junior high in the 1960s, itís about 40 years younger than Salisbury High School.
But while Principal Windsor Eagle has been at Salisbury High since 1980 ó an amazing 31 years ó Knox is on its fourth principal since just 2008. Thatís a lot of turnover at the top, a lot of people starting out with great plans and making a quick exit. The school has not had a consistent advocate and administrator for years.
Letís hope Principal James Davis changes that trend. As Knoxís new principal, he is already getting the community involved in sprucing up the school. A plea from teacher Joy Jenkins brought volunteers from Cornerstone Church to take a look at the school Monday. Parents rounded up more volunteers on Facebook to be there today. Kudos to them all. Davis needs strong support from the community and the central office to succeed.
Volunteers will be working in a unique structure at 1625 Park Road ó a group of structures, actually. Knox has a separate building for each of the three grades, in addition to a gym building, auditorium/library structure and offices. Talk about quick exits. The pod concept considered cutting-edge in the 1960s now seems like a security nightmare, with dozens of doors to the outside. Thereís been talk of replacing the school with a new building at a cost of $17.5 million, but thatís a long-range need without a timeline or funding.
Knox may be a victim of outdated design and deferred maintenance. But its biggest problem is the revolving door on the principalís office. Year after year, parents roll up their sleeves to make their childrenís years at Knox the best they can be. Volunteers can only do so much without a consistent school leader to guide the faculty and advocate for the school at the system level. Davis has come in with a 100-day plan to get started. Ideally, heíll also draw up a five-year plan to stay at Knox and make meaningful improvements ó improvements that will raise test scores and maintain discipline. Knox needs cleaning up, but without strong, stable leadership, the change is only superficial.