National Digital Principal of the Year to lead West Rowan Middle

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Derek McCoy, 2015 National Digital Principal of the Year, will replace Nancy Barkemeyer as principal of West Rowan Middle School when she retires in June.

McCoy was the keynote speaker at EdCamp Rowan, a digital-focused professional development conference the Rowan-Salisbury School System held in March.

While he was there, McCoy met district and school administrators and teachers who were passionate about digital leadership, and was attracted to the district.

“They’re doing some creative next-level things,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

McCoy has been a middle school principal for the past six years. Most recently at Spring Lake Middle School in Cumberland County and at West Middle School in Montgomery County.

“I like middle school,” he said. “It’s a good challenge.”

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia Southwestern State University in 1995, his master’s degree in middle grades education with a concentration in math in 1997 from Mercer University and an add-on certification in educational leadership from State University of West Georgia in 2001.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education unanimously approved McCoy for the position at West Rowan Middle during their work session Monday. He was selected from a pool of 37 applicants.

The board also approved a budget message to submit to the county commissioners, which includes a requested increase of $4,338,570 on the operating side of the budget and a $5,956,200 request for capital needs.

The operations increase includes $2.4 million for a 2 percent salary increase for all staff members, $55,000 for coaching supplements and $1,883,570 for teacher assistants.

Additional funding for coaching supplements was requested in response to district-wide athletic director Dr. Stewart Hobbs’ presentation about supplements earlier in the meeting.

Local schools are struggling to replace coaches who are retiring or leaving for other opportunities.

“We were very competitive to school systems on the front end,” Hobbs said, pointing out that, with the exception of athletic director and head football coach positions, the district’s stipends for beginning coaches are right in line with surrounding counties.

For those with more experience, however, the district is “in real bad shape,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Julie Morrow introduced VIF Splash, a dual-immersion program that she and Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody hope to implement at North Rowan Elementary beginning next year.

If approved by the board, parents would have the option of opting-in to the program. Two of North Rowan’s kindergarten classes would alternate between classes taught fully in Spanish and fully in English. By the end of the year, the students would be fluent in both languages.

Each year, the school would add a Splash class in the next grade, until the program has been implemented in all grades.

VIF Splash costs $46,000 each year, but Morrow said the cost difference is pretty much “a wash.”

Teachers hired through VIF Splash are less expensive than those hired independently, so the extra funding could be used to pay the annual fee.

“From the day they walk in, they are taught in Spanish,” Moody said. “If you start that in kindergarten, it’s just like you were speaking English to them.”

The board also discussed the future of its administrative offices in East Spencer.

East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett said the town is to use the building “to spur some economic development.”

She hopes to see the building repurposed for senior housing.

According to state law, the school board must receive fair market value for a piece of property unless it is to be used for educational purposes.

The board discussed the possibility of adding an after school program to the senior housing in order to avoid that issue.

The board will consider declaring the property as surplus at its business meeting later this month.