HCHS principal accepts High Point offer

Published 11:31 am Monday, August 30, 2010

AHOSKIE – Success often breeds opportunity.

Such is the case for Hertford County High School Principal Jerry Simmons.

Hertford County High School Principal Jerry Simmons

After spending four years moving HCHS from a school of poor academic performance to one that is showing the best gains in the region, Simmons has been offered a position as Principal of High Point Central High School.

While receiving several other opportunities, Simmons said the position in Guilford County is the one he will accept.

“I love Hertford County High School and Hertford County in general,” he said. “There’s nothing I’ve enjoyed more in the past four years than being at Hertford County.

“When the test scores were verified in August, I began to receive a lot of telephone calls,” he said. “There were people who knew that would happen based on the success we’ve had in the past four years at HCHS.”

Simmons said the process happened very quickly and he continued to evaluate the offer over this past weekend when he finally decided to leave HCHS to become principal of High Point Central.

“What Guilford County is asking me to come and do at this particular school, as far as its needs, I believe I have skills that fit,” he said.

Simmons said he was grateful for the opportunity he had to work with the students, staff and parents at Hertford County High School.

“The staff means everything to me,” he said. “We were able to recruit a lot of the staff that is there now. They have been instrumental in turning around the school and I value each one of them.”

The students have also been important to Simmons.

“They are simply the best,” he said. “They are the best I’ve ever been around. The overall level of respect they’ve given me the last four years means the world to me.

“What I will miss the most are the parents, students and staff,” he said. “I also will miss the administration and the school board as well. I don’t have anything to say about Hertford County Public Schools that isn’t positive. It has been a great experience.”

Simmons has spent his entire 18-year educational career in eastern North Carolina. In addition to his years in the classroom, he has served as Principal of Rich Square Creecy Elementary School, Conway Middle School and HCHS.

“I realize they (HCPS) gave me an opportunity to be a high school principal and that helped prepare me for this challenge,” he said. “I don’t take that lightly. None of us get anywhere without other people helping us.”

Simmons did say he was excited about the opportunity that was ahead of him in Guilford County.

“I enjoy challenges,” he said. “The makeup of the school with 20 or 21 different ethnicities, other programs offered there, it will give me a chance to learn and challenge myself and my own leadership abilities.

“We were successful, not I, but we, were successful in moving Hertford County to where we are now,” he said. “I will try to make those same gains at a larger school. I am a person that thrives on challenge.”

Simmons said he wanted to stress that he did not see High Point Central as a better school than HCHS, but only a different challenge.

“This was a tough decision for me and my family, but it’s an opportunity,” he said. “I’ll take the same drive there and do the best job I can, the same way I have here.”

Simmons, who is a member of the Weldon City Schools Board of Education, has not officially resigned from either post, but expects to do so within the week.

A time for the move to High Point Central will be determined in consultation with Hertford County Schools.