New Winterboro principal returning home
by Shane Dunaway
After 23 years working in education, new Winterboro High School Principal Michelle Head has returned home for the second time.

Head, currently the only female principal of a high school in the Talladega County School System, officially assumed the role of principal July 1 from former WHS Principal Craig Bates, who now works in the Talladega County Board of Education Central Office.

She previously served as the assistant principal of WHS and principal of Sycamore Elementary School before transitioning back to her high school alma mater.

“It is going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a great opportunity for me,” Head said. “I know I have lots of challenges, and huge, huge shoes to fill. I can’t say enough about Bates and his contributions to Winterboro. The culture is so different here from when I was assistant principal.

“I was here when we first started the project-based learning process,” Head added. “It’s another unique perspective for me to come back in and see the fruits of their labor.”

Head credited several influences for steering her toward teaching during her time attending WHS, including her high school history teacher John Offord. Upon completing high school, Head attended the University of Montevallo.

After graduating from Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1991 and a master’s degree in Education in 1992, Head took her first teaching job at Chelsea Elementary School.

Head first realized what kind of teacher she wanted to be shortly after she had completed her bachelor’s degree.

“When I completed my Fine Arts degree, I was in charge of a Saturday school teaching young kids how to paint,” Head said. “That’s when I decided I would be an art teacher.”

She spent 11 years as an art teacher before going back to Montevallo to obtain her education specialist degree as part of the school’s teacher leadership program, transitioning into the role of administrator along the way.

“You did not go into the teacher leadership program with the intent of being an administrator,” Head said. “It just kind of happened because I was taking on more and more responsibilities at my school and I saw where I could make a greater impact on that level. That’s why I went into administration — to make an impact on the school and the community.”

Head stated furthering her predecessor’s efforts and continuing to help the school grow are her key priorities as she carries the metaphorical torch passed by Bates.

“You can’t come into a school without a vision,” Head said. “I’m very excited to be here. I feel like we can get so much more accomplished because of the foundation Bates has set.”

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© 2013