Opinion / Editorial
Dr. Horton returns to FDHS
October 2, 2012Douglass High School
After six long years, former principal, Dr. Eldrick H. Horton has returned to FDHS to serve once again as the school’s principal. He has a new structure and plan in mind for the once unstable school which includes a new dress-code, mission statement, lunch schedule, and increased instructional time for students. Dr. Horton is prepared to make the necessary changes to ensure increased academic success and an enhanced school culture.
“I relate my feelings about returning to a mood ring, and I can say it is now on its best color,” Dr. Horton said when asked how he feels about returning to the once revered high school.
He, like many others, had heard the horror stories about the school and became disappointed; however, after returning, he learned that the school and students hold promise.
“There is a good body of students from which we can work to develop the type of school culture and academic focus that we would like. I was pleased that the teachers and staff were willing to listen and were excited about wanting this to be a great school once again. We have set the tone and expectations for students and we expect the legacy of excellence will return to FDHS,” he said.
Dr. Horton served as principal at FDHS from 2001-2006. As only the third principal in FDHS history, he continued the legacy of high expectations that were set by the two former principals. Under his leadership, FDHS met Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) for five consecutive years, maintained the status of being a Title I Distinguished School, established the first Ninth Grade Academy, introduced Student Accountability Handbooks, created parent, teacher and student resource centers, created the 1000 Plus Club and oversaw the multi-million dollar renovation of the school.
After leaving FDHS, he served as principal at the once troubled Tri- Cities High School in Fulton County. After completely turning the school around and getting in on the right track he was offered an opportunity to open a brand new elementary school in Fulton County- Feldwood Elementary.
His experiences in the years since his departure from Douglass have provided him with the skills to perfect his job as disciplinarian and leader. He places importance on providing teachers and students with support, resources and opportunities for professional learning. He said that he believes in celebrating the work that teachers and students do.
When asked why he came back, Dr. Horton replied, “I felt compelled by the requests of the community. I felt like I was the right person to come and turn the school around and I wanted to bring back the experiences that created a safe and orderly environment for students and staff.”
“The plan is to get the respect back that we once had. The fights and disruption have to cease. Previous, positive reputations have to be rekindled and we must prosper into a proud community of teachers, staff, and students. The next step is to get back on the academic map and transform students into higher achievers. The teachers, the staff, and I all want to readily prepare the students for post-secondary options,” he said.
Students and teachers tend to agree with Dr. Horton’s plan and support his efforts.
“The school has made a complete 360 degree turn so far due to the returning principal and polished teaching staff,” said senior Junia Depina. I’m super excited, yet super nervous at the same time because we’re so used to the previous years of rules getting over-turned over time. I believe that this year will be one of consistency though. The atmosphere so far has been a positive one and everyone is focused on academics. Courses are rigorous, there is order in the hallways, and we’re at a place that cares about our futures,” she said.
By all accounts, FDHS has literally begun anew under the administration of Dr. Horton. With high expectations, increased accountability and a sense of empowerment that can be felt by all, FDHS is on track to add to the rich history and legacy of excellence that it was once known for and completely erase the negative connotation that has become synonymous with its name in recent years.
As for the future, Dr Horton said, “I’m not sure how long I am going to stay, but I will say that I will stay until the job at hand gets done. Stay tuned… “The best is yet to come,” he said.
By: Amber Hughes