Right decision for Bertie High

Published 9:21 am Friday, May 1, 2009

To say there is a new sheriff in town would be misleading.

Having said that, there’s a new “sheriff” at Bertie High School.

On Tuesday morning, G. Fisher Mitchell assumed the duties of Acting Principal of Bertie High School. He took over those duties in addition to continuing his current role as Principal of the Bertie School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

It’s been 16 years since Mitchell first took over Bertie High School and my how things have changed. Well, sort of.

While it may be true that Mitchell has mellowed in his, shall we say, veteran years, it is also true that he is every bit the administrator he was almost two decades ago. He will make tough, necessary decisions to move the school forward. Those decisions may or may not be popular, but that won’t stop him from making the correct ones.

He has maybe more of a challenge as he leads Bertie High School this time around. Not only is his appointment short-term (he will give way to Calvin Moore when Coach Moore returns from serving his country with the National Guard), but the school is limbo. It has had no direction for a while now.

Coach Moore started giving direction in the short time he served as principal, but that was six months ago and only for a short time. He will no doubt do a fantastic job when he returns as well, but something must be done now if we are to make sure these students succeed.

That had to be the priority of the Bertie County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chip Zullinger. It was time to make a change and the fact that it was almost May couldn’t be an obstacle. The students had to take priority. Thankfully, they did.

Bertie High School is the flagship of Bertie County Schools. It is a source of most of the pride and loyalty its graduates feel to the district. When Bertie High School succeeds, all of its graduates step a little lighter and smile a little broader.

While the STEM School is extremely important and so are the Early College High School and Ninth Grade Academy, the school that carries the flag into battle is Bertie High.

For Bertie County Schools to be truly successful, Bertie High School must be successful.

Glenwood Mitchell knows how to make that happen because he’s done it before. Add to that mix the experience and knowledge of Norman Cherry Sr., who will be serving as Interim Assistant Principal, and it’s clear to me that BHS is in good hands.

Their task won’t be easy. The high school didn’t get into the shape it’s in overnight and it won’t be fixed quickly. The way to do it is make tough decisions and move forward. Glenwood Mitchell will do that.

When he was principal before, Mitchell brought the school academic success and provided the administrative foundation that brought the Falcons their first state football championship in 1995. He’ll make those same types of decisions now.

I believe Mitchell and Cherry will make the right decisions and will do what’s best for Bertie High School. As a graduate myself, I’ll sleep a little better at night knowing my alma mater is in good hands.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at thadd.white@r-cnews or via telephone at 332-7211.