Principals Share Vision For School Year

Weakley County Schools' Principals Share Their Vision for the Year as Parent-Teacher Conference Approaches
Posted on 09/16/2022
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After a successful first 6 weeks back in the classroom, students and school leaders are well into the groove of another successful year. With the fall Parent-Teacher Conference approaching September 27, Weakley County Schools’ Principals are sharing their vision and areas of focus to cultivate in their schools by next May. 

Each new year brings a fresh set of goals for advancement and improvement from the leadership in every school. As a community of students is unique, so are the goals of each individual school. Principals and administrators work together to continuously re-evaluate goals for growth and performance relative to student needs that are custom to each community.

Each Principal outlined some motivating ideas and concepts at work in their schools this year.

Principal Melanie Needham said that faculty and staff at Dresden Elementary School are concentrating on providing educational opportunities that meet the needs of the whole child to ensure intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of every student.

“We’ve had a great first six weeks, and our teachers are working with students to stay on target with our goals: delivering high quality academic instruction, using assessment information to customize learning needs for individual students, providing opportunities for student learning and success through intervention and enrichment, and modeling appropriate expectations for all students. It’s inspiring how our faculty and staff are committed to helping our students excel,” said Needham.

Dresden Middle School Principal David Lewellen explained that student participation and leadership are main objectives for his school.

“We are off to an exciting start. With sports teams practicing and academic clubs meeting, our intent is to provide every student with the opportunity to participate. There’s no shortage of opportunities for students to get involved and the faculty and staff are here to support our students by sponsoring clubs and activities,” Lewellen explained.  “I am excited to share that our club membership numbers have already grown remarkably this year. Student involvement and ownership of their roles in the school is important.  Our students need to feel like they are a part of something, and Dresden Middle School is much more than testing and homework. It is about growing academically, physically, and socially. We’re dedicated to student improvement in all aspects to help them become contributing members of our community.”

Dresden High Principal Scott Killebrew shared his plans to foster a positive culture in his school.

“If the last six weeks are any indication of how the rest of our year will go, we’re headed for one awesome year. At DHS, we’re working on building positive relationships. The key point is support for each other. Teachers know that creating that foundation of respect and expectation is crucial with students, and we must understand the needs of the students before we can expect them to perform. Our school firmly believes in “relationships before rigor, and grace before grades.” We are promoting and encouraging this positive culture in every classroom,” Killebrew mentioned.

Principal Lee Lawrence plans to use faculty feedback, student data, and regular re-evaluation to refine goals for Gleason School.

“Our teachers and students never fail to amaze us, and this year is no different. We are continuing the work of examining student data to refine our daily instructional practices. We use our PLC and staff meeting times to ensure planning is taking place that aligns with all of our core content standards. Through survey feedback from our teachers, we prioritized objectives to include increasing school-wide recognition of honor and merit roll students, changes to teacher flex periods, creating teacher opportunities to identify learning gaps and plan accordingly, adding incentive programs for good attendance, and teaching children about acceptable use policies for electronic devices,” Lawrence mentioned.  “We also strive to give timely feedback to our students and families about academic progress. These are just a few of the goals and updates happening in our classrooms. Parents are encouraged to remain active in their child’s academic lives and please reach out to us with questions or concerns.”

2022 Principals
Back row, L to R: John Lifsey, David Lewellen, Lee Lawrence, Jeff Cupples, Brian Allen, Scott Killebrew. Front row, L to R: Patresa Rogers, Melanie Needham, Tracey Bell, Michelle Clements.


Principal Jeff Cupples is promoting integrity, respect, and unity into the collective mindset at Greenfield School.

“We’ve already witnessed miracles this year, and we do not want to understate the astounding month we’ve had at Greenfield School. Some of the goals that we have include our school family growing in their demonstration of our driving principles of integrity, respect, and unity. As we continue to foster our P.O.W.E.R. G mindset, we believe becoming productive citizens and being proud of where you come from is key in growing our community, county, and school system. Through those principles, we will continue to strive in making improvements toward our daily priorities of academics, pride, and facilities. Our students will have expanded opportunities through CLEP, AP Courses, STEM, Statewide Dual Credit, Art II, and dual enrollment partnerships with UTM and Bethel University. We are also partnering with UTM’s music department as well as launching our own student-produced news channel. Greenfield is committed to making a small school equal a big education,” said Principal Cupples.

Martin Primary School Principal Tracey Bell is emphasizing grace and expectations.

“We’ve had a great first six weeks. At MPS, we are committed to creating a caring and inclusive learning environment that fosters teamwork, communication, and respect within our school and throughout the community. By showing grace and setting high expectations, the sky is the limit. Our faculty and staff are working tirelessly to develop individual plans to meet all student’s social, emotional, and academic needs. We have plans in place to promote effective communication within our building and with our stakeholders. We are excited about upcoming activities that will allow faculty and staff to interact with our parents and community both inside and outside school,” Principal Bell stated.

A unique take on the word ‘focus’ is the theme of the year at Martin Elementary School under the leadership of Principal Patresa Rogers.

“Our teachers and students are knocking it out of the park with a terrific start to the year, and we’re using the word ‘focus’ as a guidepost. In the years following COVID, we began identifying a word to help us build and convey our goals, and this year we chose the word ‘focus’. We are using the word to help us align our objectives in the several areas,” Rogers noted.  “Teachers are focusing on each individual child in our classrooms with concentration on their areas of need to fill in learning gaps. Working with students to help them focus on academics to set their own goals helps to nurture student ownership of their studies.  Another focus is including family in school events throughout the year, and we have some fun activities planned for this fall that we will be sharing soon. A crucial area of focus is self-care for faculty and staff. The daily emotional and physical burden on our staff takes a tremendous toll. Deliberate focus must be placed on self-care to be our best for students and fellow teachers. We hope that our collective focus this year leads to academic growth, student empowerment, and overall rejuvenation in Martin Elementary School.”

Martin Middle Principal John Lifsey believes that building relationships is an essential part of this school year.

“The start to our school year has been positive and we plan to build on that momentum. In terms of new additions, we’re excited that we’ve added a second math instruction class that we hope will help us grow our math scores this year. One important aim for our group is to support mental and emotional growth. Middle school years can be a tough, transitional time for kids. Our teachers are skillfully adept at understanding how important it is to build relationships with students to support them during the middle school transition. Our mission this year is to help students get involved and take part in school activities so they can grow and prepare academically, emotionally, mentally, and physically,” said Lifsey.

Principal Brian Allen and his team set clearly defined goals for Westview High.

"Our first few weeks have been excellent, and there's great energy in the halls of Westview. Our teachers are collaborating with fresh strategies on how we plan to meet our goals this year. We've developed several targets as benchmarks to create a successful year: Improved student performance, recruit highly qualified staff, promote stakeholder involvement, maintain safe facilities, provide supportive resources, and model great leadership that generates strong student leaders. It's incredible to work in a school community that is dedicated to encouraging student growth in every aspect of what we do each day," Allen commented.

Growth is the name of the game for Sharon School according to Principal Michelle Clements.

“Our faculty and staff could not wait to get back to school with our students this year, and this first month has been a great start. In one word, our vision for this year is “growth.” Our theme this year is, “We each bloom uniquely, but at Sharon School we grow together.” Collectively, our team created goal areas for our growth. First, we want to grow academically with the intent that every student will reach his or her full academic potential. Second, we have the goal of professional growth for our teachers, and that could be in the form of development or additional training to meet individual students’ needs. Third, we’re working on improving social emotional learning at every grade level to help students acknowledge, express, and share their feelings in an appropriate way. Lastly, it’s our mission to grow with our community. By coming into our school and helping support growth in our students, the community of Sharon will grow in turn. We all have an important role to play in growing Sharon,” said Clements.

To learn more about what’s happening in our schools, visit weakleycountyschools.com and select a school to navigate to their webpage. For the most up-to-date news, find and follow each school on Facebook.