Demopolis High School has a new principal following Friday’s called meeting of the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education. The board voted to remove the interim tag from Blaine Hathcock, promoting him to the DHS principal job after nearly five months filling in the role.
“There has been structure at the high school. It has been a relatively quiet winter and spring. Things are getting handled at the school level the way they should be handled. He has been very active instructionally,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said of Hathcock’s performance at DHS. “The teachers and the students at that school deserve consistency. They haven’t had consistency in about five years and Mr. Hathcock is brining that. I know that with Mr. Hathcock there and the teachers we have, we can get that high school back on track.”
“I don’t know that it is as much as what I’ve accomplished. I think it’s just giving some structure to what we were doing. I think, organizationally, we’ve made some things better that needed to be better. I think the biggest thing is just giving some vision for how we were going to get to where we need to get. The transition was smooth and I think a lot of the credit, to be honest with you, goes to those teachers over there. They’ve been through a lot of change. The biggest thing is that the teachers have made it easy,” Hathcock said of his time at the high school thus far. I think we were able to paint a vision of Demopolis High School in the first faculty meeting. Demopolis High School is bigger than one person. It’s bigger than the principal. Demopolis High School is a share responsibility. This senior class of kids was the first eighth grade group I had at the middle school. I know them all. I’ve had them all, for the most part.”
Hathcock first came to the Demopolis system from Haleyville in June 2012. Having previously served three years as an assistant principal, Hathcock helped stabilize the middle school, an institution that had seen three principals in three years prior to his arrival.
Hathcock moved to the high school post in December 2016 after the resignation of former principal Chris Tangle. Rollie McCall has served as interim principal of Demopolis Middle School since that time while Tracy Stewart has served as interim assistant principal at DMS.
In an adjoining move, the board approved the posting of the principal job at Demopolis Middle School.
“We’re going to advertise it for a month from the 24th of April through May 22. That’s four weeks,” Kallhoff said. “We’re always looking for an instructional leader. The middle school is in good shape. Mr. Hathcock is leaving it in good shape. We need to make sure we can find a principal that can take it where it is and keep on moving. Of course, we want someone with administrative experience. We hope to make a recommendation by, if not the end of May, definitely some time in early June to bring closure there also.”
Hathcock indicated that the decision to leave the middle school proved a difficult one.
“It’s the people in the school. That was difficult for me. It’s just because of how good they’ve been to me. Some of them have been there the whole time I’ve been there, some of them I hired after I got there. They’re a special group. You feel it when you walk on campus,” Hathcock said. “They care about those kids and they care about that school. You can’t deny that when you walk on campus. I can’t tell you how much that place means to me. When I went there five years ago, I said I wanted us to be the best middle school in Alabama. And they believed it.”
The move will also see Hathcock walk away from coaching after two decades of serving in various capacities as a football coach, basketball coach and athletic director.
“Sometimes you need a change. I think, sometimes, a change is good. You get new goals and you get new perspective on things. Even though I’m moving out of that realm, hopefully I can have an impact on not just one area, but a lot of areas,” he said, noting the high school’s array of offerings in athletics, fine arts, career tech and numerous fields. “My goal is to be in Demopolis. Our family is here. Our children are in schools here. At the high school, we have good people in place, but they need some consistency here and leadership. My goal is to be able to provide that. I think the expectation will be the same. We want to be the best. Period.”