Special to the Enquirer Dr. Dee Dee Jones welcomes new HJHS principal, Robert Smith

Hartselle City Schools name new HJHS principal

Hartselle City Schools named Robert “Rocky” Smith as the new principal of Hartselle Junior High School during the June 11 school board meeting. Smith will officially begin the position July 1 and will be coming from James Clemons.

According to Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones there were 61 applications for the positions. Jones said that the Smith’s passion and diverse background made him stand out among the other applicants.

“His diverse background and experience and that he would focus on our strategic plan made him really stand out. He is passionate about the kids,” Jones said.

Smith will be entering into his eighth year as an administrator and has worked a total of 16 years in the education field. He says he is looking forward to starting the new position. “I am very excited to get to know everybody. Hartselle Junior High School  has a student population of 500 kids and I just want to know every single one of them. That is something I am really looking forward to, to get to know everyone,” Smith said.

Smith will be moving to Hartselle with his wife and two children. He said the strong community and education system led him to apply for the position.

“Hartselle has a tradition of excellence academically and athletically and the community really supports education. One thing that is important for me as a leader is having a good place for my kids, and having two kids that will be coming here to Hartselle City Schools we want them to be able to plug in and enjoy the opportunities here and excel just like I want for every student here,” Smith said.

During his time in education, Smith has worked in a variety of areas including as athletic director and coach for many years as well as overseeing technology. Jones said that Smith’s background suited him for the position and what they were looking for in a candidate. “It was a big decision to narrow the pool down. It was about a three week process. We were looking for someone to continue the great traditions that we already have, but then take it beyond to focus on our strategic plan,” Jones said.

When Smith begins his term in July he says he plans to work closely with his staff to determine what areas are strong and what can be improved. “Hartselle Junior High has a great tradition of excellence. I just want to bring some passion and energy for student achievement and I want to plug in to the staff that is already doing a good job and hear their ideas and work on a collective vision to take our school to the next level. I think that’s important, that we never stop improving, we never stop looking for ways to help our students become even better. As long as we keep our efforts student centered then we are going to do great things,” Smith said.

During the meeting, the board also approved a memorandum of understanding between the schools and the Hartselle Police Department for a new School Protection Officer program. The program would utilize retired officers to help provide additional officers in the schools throughout the district.

Other items approved by the board include:

  • Declaring a floor stripper, old student chairs, a non-operational lawn mower and a tractor as surplus property.
  • Approving a request from the Housing Authority of the City of Hartselle for a bus service for an annual summer program. All expenses are covered by the Housing Authority.
  • Adopting the 2019-2020 salary schedule which includes the four percent pay raise approved by Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year.
  • Approved an additional 20 out of district students.
  • Approved the 2019-2020 board meeting dates
  • Approved one non-renewal, three transfers, nine employments, seven stipends and supplements and the contract for Smith.

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