Amanda Dakas is the new Principal at DeKalb Middle School.
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has named Dakas to succeed Randy Jennings as DMS Principal. Jennings is the new Principal at DeKalb County High School.
Dakas has served as Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School since 2012. She has a Bachelor’s Degree (B.S.), a Master’s Degree (M.S.), and an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S).
Tad Webb will be stepping into the role of Assistant Principal. He has been a 7th grade math teacher and a DMS Saints football and DWS Bulldogs baseball coach.
“I am very humbled and excited about being named the new principal at DeKalb Middle School! Some of the people that I respect most have once held this very same position, and I know what their leadership and guidance meant to me as a student, a colleague, and now as a friend. The teachers at DMS have a passion for teaching and learning and the atmosphere is that of a family. From the time I became Assistant Principal until now, these folks have embraced me and we have become a team! I am also beyond thrilled to know that I have the opportunity to serve the children within our county at a time in their lives when they need guidance the most. We have phenomenal teachers, educational assistants, custodians, kitchen staff, and students at DMS, and I am just so honored to be a part of this team….. and that’s what we are- A TEAM!,” Principal Dakas told WJLE
“I am also grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Mr. Randy Jennings over the past five years and now I am looking forward to working with Mr. Tad Webb. I know we’re going to work together as a great team because we already have over these past years,” she said.
“I think she is going to bring a lot of energy to the school. I have no doubt she will work hard. She is dedicated to those kids. She loves those kids. She loves that school. It’s a big job and she knows what’s coming. They have made a ton of changes in the past and we’re excited about the vision she has for the school and where she plans on taking it,” Director of Schools Patrick Cripps told WJLE.
A 1991 graduate of DeKalb County High School, Dakas attended college at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville from 1991 through 1996. From 1991-1995 she earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)degree with a Major in Speech Communication and a Minor in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. From 1995-1996 Dakas also received her Masters of Science (M.S.) degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Tennessee. In 2000, Dakas attended Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan where she began taking introductory educational leadership classes. In 2004 she went back to school and received her Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in 2006 with a focus on Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
Dakas began teaching at John Sevier Elementary School in Maryville, Tennessee as a 1st grade teacher in 1995 and then moved back to DeKalb County in 1996 where she taught 7th grade Math at DeKalb Middle School and was the football cheerleading coach. Dakas got married that same year and her husband received a promotion within his business in the automotive industry.
“We moved to Shelby Township, Michigan where we resided for the next 5 ½ years. While living there, I became a homeschool educator for a year and a half where I was hired to go in to people’s homes and design a curriculum and deliver instruction to students within a multi-age setting before I decided to try my hand in the business world. I worked in Sales and Marketing at Dura Automotive Headquarters in Rochester Hills, Michigan for the remaining 4 years before we returned to Smithville. Once we were back home, I also returned to my love of teaching! I began teaching at Northside Elementary School in 2002 where I taught 3rd grade for 5 years and Computer and Technology for 5 years and remained at N.E.S. until I became Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School in 2012 where I have served until June 2017. (My first day as an Assistant Principal was also my twins’ first day of Kindergarten.) As of July 2017, I was named Principal of DeKalb Middle School. (Therefore, I have taught for a total of 16 ½ years!),” said Dakas.
“I have taught 1st grade, 3rd grade, 7th grade math, and taught ALL 2nd-5th grade students in Computer and Technology. I have been Assistant Principal at DMS for the last 5 years and am honored to begin my journey as Principal of DeKalb Middle School,” she said.
Dakas is the daughter of Rick and Sandra Widener and Donnie (and the late Margaret Ann) Pack. She married John Nikolas Dakas, from Ferndale, Michigan, on November 30, 1996 and they had twins, Andrew Jackson Dakas and Annabella Eleni Dakas, on December 20, 2006. The twins will be in the fifth grade at Northside Elementary School this year. “My husband, John, is currently a Senior Formability Engineer at Magna International/Cosma Die Technology which is based out of Troy, Michigan,” said Dakas.
The new DMS Principal has already identified specific goals she would like to see accomplished.
“Over the past 5 years as Assistant Principal, I have been able to focus on and achieve success over many of the goals that I have set for our school. While those successes are gratifying, the work is never done in the world of education. Two specific goals that I have set for this year are increasing student growth within English/Language Arts and Math and focusing on communication as a whole! The first goal will be centered around our core instruction in English and Math and within our Response to Intervention time each day where we take students where they currently are, skill-wise, and give them the tools they need in order to grow,” said Dakas
“The second goal will focus on providing information about what’s going on at DMS for parents and students on a consistent basis. Our team is working on some ideas right now that will facilitate better communication from school to home, and we are excited about that. More than anything, we just want our students to become kind and productive members of society, and we believe that a solid educational foundation combined with a nurturing and exciting environment will help grow these kinds of future leaders,” she said.
Dakas is anxious to get started as Principal and is ready for the challenge.
“My experience as a teacher for 10 ½ years and as an Assistant Principal for 5 years, combined with my years in business, has helped prepare me for this moment by giving me hands-on, real-life experiences to draw on. Looking back, I can now see how each of these experiences has served as a building block to get me to where I am today. Of course, experiences only get you so far. Without the support and belief of my wonderful family and the great teachers and educational leaders in DeKalb County, I would not be here. You never reach the mountaintop by yourself, so it’s important to always remember that success comes when you’re a member of a great team!”
“Finally, I want to thank Mr. Patrick Cripps and the school board for this wonderful opportunity and I look forward to having them visit the middle school often to see for themselves all the great things happening there,” said Principal Dakas.