• 70°

Co-principals to take over reins at Knox Middle School

SALISBURY — Knox Middle School will have not one, but two, new principals next year.
Dr. Michael Waiksnis and Dr. Latoya Dixon were chosen out of 45 applicants to serve as co-principals of the school. The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education approved the hire Monday during a called meeting.
“Individuals are having difficulty leading that school and getting results,” said Kay Wright Norman, vice chairwoman of the school board.
Knox isn’t new to transition — Principal Terrence Snider left Knox at the end of March, and he was the fourth principal to leave since 2008.
What the school isn’t familiar with is transformation, a factor Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody was passionate about bringing into the school with its new leadership.
The job description put out by the Board of Education in early April sought a “transformational leader or team.”
“It’s a process of knowing what we need to change,” Norman said.
Norman said Knox needed “radical” change.
“A school operates on a team principle anyway,” she said, adding that this arrangement just takes that “a step forward.”
Both Dixon and Waiksnis are coming from the Rock Hill School district in South Carolina, and used to work for Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody before she moved to Rowan County.
“We have a long history of working together,” Dixon said, adding that in addition to working in the same district, the pair has coauthored educational articles.
Waiksnis is currently the principal of Sullivan Middle School, a position he has held since June 2008. He was an assistant principal at Castle Heights Middle School, also in Rock Hill, from January 2007 until June 2008.
Prior to that, Waiksnis was employed at South Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla. He was a teacher from January 2000 until March 2005, and then an assistant principal until January 2007.
Waiksnis was named 2014 middle school principal of the year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
Dixon has been the principal of Mount Gallant Elementary School since January 2008.
Before that, she was an assistant principal and administrative intern from August 2006 until December 2007 at Old Pointe Elementary School.
Dixon began her career in education Rawlinson Road Middle School as an English teacher in 1999. She stayed there until she became an administrative intern at Old Pointe Elementary School in August 2006. The following year, she became an assistant principal.
Dixon and Waiksnis have a proven track record, Norman said.
The percent of students that made adequate progress in English language arts, math, science and social studies drastically jumped between 2007, the year before both started as principal, and 2013.
At Mount Gallant, where Dixon was principal, only 47.5 percent of students were at a proficient level in their English classes, but last year, that number was up to 86.4 percent. Percentages jumped from 37.8 percent to 86.4 percent in math, and from 53 percent to 84.9 percent in science. Students with proficient social studies scores jumped from 58.4 percent to 90 percent.
Waiksnis saw similar growth at Sullivan. English scores jumped from only 32 percent of students being proficient to 74.6 percent. Math scores moved from 38 percent to 72.7 percent, and science scores went to 74.4 percent from 41 percent. The proficiency among social studies scores skyrocketed from 28 to 72.7 percent.
Waiksnis has his bachelor’s of arts degree in social science with an educator certification and his master’s degree in education with a major in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University. He received his doctorate of education from Gardner-Webb University last month.
Dixon received her bachelor’s of arts degree from in secondary education and English from Clemson University. She attended the University of South Carolina to get her master’s of education, her educational specialist and her doctorate of philosophy – all with a concentration in educational leadership.
Waiksnis said he’s excited to come to Knox because “there seems to be a lot of excitement and passion” at the school.
A press conference will be held Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Knox’s media center to further discuss the district’s plan to transform Knox Middle School and to work with local partners to make the transition happen.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will survey families, stakeholders about next superintendent

Local

Library to reopen for in-person visits Oct. 1

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office K-9s to receive bulletproof vests

Crime

Man charged with sex offense, raping teen

Business

Commissioners receive analysis of county’s development application process

Crime

Man arrested in Spencer in connection with Charlotte murder investigation

Local

County government losing assistant manager, social services director

Education

RSS will collect information on full K-5 return

Education

KCS sees smooth transition back to classes, unlikely to transition to all in-person for K-5

Nation/World

Barrett emerges as court favorite; Trump to pick by weekend

Local

Tillis says Trump will extend offshore drilling pause to NC

Coronavirus

12% of all Rowan COVID-19 cases currently active

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces drug charges after hotel disturbance call

Crime

Rockwell teen charged with rape of a 14-year-old girl

Crime

Police: Charlotte man caught stealing funeral home employee’s truck

Local

Rowan Social Services director takes new job in New Hanover County; Heidrick to retire

Ask Us

Ask us: Will masks be required in Rowan County polling locations?

Elections

Political Notebook: Tillis, Cunningham differ on when to fill SCOTUS vacancy

Local

Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment

Local

Blast from the past: Concordia Lutheran Church opens time capsule from previous century

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with damaging video camera, tresspassing

Crime

North Carolina man faces over 300 sex-related charges

News

Coastal flooding along Outer Banks closes roads

Nation/World

GOP hopeful Supreme Court battle will help shift election