Craft named new MCHS principal
BY BEN MUNRO
Months after a puzzling end to his tenure at Cedar Shoals, Dr. Tommy Craft has a new job with Madison County.
Craft was named the new principal at Madison County High School by the board of education Tuesday night.
“We feel very lucky to be able to get someone of Dr. Craft’s quality and experience,” Madison County Schools superintendent Dr. Mitch McGhee said.
Craft, who was a principal at Valdosta High School for two years prior to his stint at Cedar Shoals, takes over for Wayne McIntosh who left for a principal’s position in South Carolina.
Craft appeared to be a popular principal in his four years at Cedar Shoals, but the Clarke County Board of Education voted 7-1 in January to not renew Craft’s contract, despite a superintendent’s recommendation that he be retained.
The move surprised many and sparked controversy. According to The Athens Banner-Herald, the Clarke County school board received a petition Feb. 14 with 206 signatures among them were those of parents of current and former Cedar Shoals students to retain Craft.
“We are aware that there was some controversy not so much with Dr. Craft surrounding his non-renewal there in Clarke County,” McGhee said.
McGhee said he and a committee thoroughly researched Craft’s references, talking to both Craft’s former superintendents and several teachers at Cedar Shoals.
“Really, he had sterling references, especially in his ability to bring improvement in academic achievement,” McGhee said. “That’s really what we were trying to focus in on.”
Twenty-nine applied for the position and six finalists were interviewed.
McGhee said he was very pleased with the pool of candidates.
“We had a very deep and experienced pool,” he said, noting that three of the six finalists had high school principal experience.
McGhee said the system is ready to move forward with its new high school principal.
“Especially in a one high school system, there are not many positions more important than that of high school principal,” he said. “We certainly are going to miss Mr. McIntosh. On the other hand, we were happy that we were able to get Mr. Craft in and believe that we’re going to have a very smooth transition.”
Craft will be paid a stipend to work at MCHS five days this month to become acquainted with the school.
Craft will start full-time at Madison County High School July 1.