DeKalb County High School will be under new leadership as of July 1.
Randy Jennings, who has been Principal at DeKalb Middle School for 13 years, has been named by Director of Schools Patrick Cripps to succeed Dr. Kathy Bryant as DCHS Principal. Dr. Bryant has transferred to the position of Supervisor of Instruction for grades 6-12.
“I am excited about the move to the high school. First I’d like to thank Mr. Cripps for having the confidence in me to be the leader of DeKalb County High School. I want to get settled in and get with the assistant principals. There will be a lot of things similar at the high school compared to the middle school but a lot of things will be different too. The CTE (Career Technical Education) I have never had to deal with at the middle school level so that will be a new venture for me. There’s just a lot of things I’ll have to get in there and look at and become familiar with before going too much further,” Jennings told WJLE.
"Randy has done a good job and we’re excited about where he can take the high school. It’s a big challenge he is facing but he has a good staff who will support and work with him to do whatever needs to be done to make sure our kids are being educated," Director Cripps told WJLE.
Jennings said he enjoyed his years at DeKalb Middle School and will miss working with the students and teachers there. “I have really enjoyed my time at the Middle School. I have had a wonderful faculty and staff over those 13 years. I am going to miss working with those people. I’ll also miss working with the kids at that age. We’ve always tried to provide a good academic foundation but even as important, I hope that I have made a positive impact on the kids' lives. Now I will get a chance to continue doing that but at a little later time in their lives,” he said.
Jennings began his teaching career at DeKalb West School in 1995. “I was there for 2 years as an 8th grade math, science and social studies teacher and I also coached both the boys and girls basketball teams,” said Jennings.
“ In the fall of 1997, I accepted a teaching position at Watertown High School and was the head baseball coach and assistant boys basketball coach. The following year I was named the head girls basketball coach and remained in that capacity for 2 years,” he continued.
“In the fall of 2000, I came back home to DeKalb County as the principal of Smithville Elementary School. I served in that capacity for 5 years from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, I was transferred to DeKalb Middle School as principal where I have served for the past 13 years,” said Jennings.
A 1989 graduate of DeKalb County High School, Jennings earned an Associate of Science degree at Motlow State Community College in 1991. Three years later Jennings earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Middle Tennessee State University. In 1998, Jennings furthered his education obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University followed by a Specialist in Education degree in Instructional Leadership from TTU in 2005.
Randy and his wife Jill are the parents of 21 year old Cori and 18 year old Steven Jennings.
Jennings is the 12th principal at DCHS since 1963. His predecessors are Amon Snyder, Jim Butler, Tucker Hendrix, Ernest Ray, Dr. Charles Collier, Larry Johnson, Dr. Barry Roberts, Weldon Parkinson, Kathy Hendrix, Patrick Cripps, and Dr. Kathy Bryant.
DCHS Assistant Principals are David Gash and Jenny Norris.
"We’re really going to push the ACT at the high school. I know the state tests are important but the ACT is where kids get money to go to school. The state has set an ACT goal and we plan to meet and exceed it. We have already made great strides in the last couple of years on the ACT as well as the 90% reading goal. We’re catching up. The elementary level has done a wonderful job and the high school has done a wonderful job in the RTI. That is something we will keep working on. We want to challenge our top students and we want to get those students who are struggling to get them up toward reading on grade level", said Cripps.
Director Cripps has not yet named a new principal at DeKalb Middle School to succeed Jennings. Applications are currently being taken for the position and interviews will follow.