Speegle eager for first year at DHS

After more than 30 years in education, the first day of school is giving Dr. Tony Speegle a certain degree of butterflies again.

“I’ve been very excited and reinvigorated a little bit by the move, by coming over here,” Speegle, who spent 15 years as principal at U.S. Jones Elementary School said of his move to Demopolis High School.

When the bell rings to officially open the school calendar Monday, Speegle will begin a new era in his career. After spending 28 of his 30-year educational career at USJ, Speegle learned earlier this summer that he would be the new principal of DHS.

“I’m very appreciative of the job that was done over here. I’m walking into a good situation,” Speegle said, crediting Leon Clark who spent four years as the DHS head man before switching to U.S. Jones earlier this summer. “Demopolis has always been able to hire good people and it makes transitions easier.”

As students ready to return to class, Speegle is eager to face some of the unique challenges that accompany serving as administrator of a high school.

“High school students are a lot more creative in how they spend their time and what they spend their time on. And they’ve got a lot more time to do that than the adults do,” Speegle said. “It is just trying to work with them and encourage them to do the right things, to stay away from the things that are not going to benefit them.”

As he looks to adjust to his new role, Speegle cited the DHS staff as reason for comfort in transitional times.

“The thing that has been a blessing is that all of the processes are in place. Teachers are familiar with their routines, what they generally do and their responsibilities. I’ll come in and survey the landscape and check and see what I can improve,” Speegle explained. “I didn’t want to change much coming in because Demopolis has a good school system. It has a good faculty at each school and they do just a great job. So there is a lot of trust going in from an administrator’s standpoint. It is more about me learning what I need to do and how I can help them do their job better.”

Himself an alumnus of Demopolis High, Speegle cited a personal sense of pride in his alma mater. That level of pride, he said, is one he hopes he can help foster within the school’s current student body.

“I want the students to be as proud of Demopolis High School as I am. When I think about Demopolis High School and growing up here and attending here and my diploma says Demopolis High School and my class ring says Demopolis High School, I want them to feel that sense of pride on down the road,” Speegle said. “This is a good city and good school system and it has great people in it.”