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Posted: September 2, 2010 5:08 p.m.

Sams resigns as Newton principal

Dr. Carl Skinner will serve as interim principal

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Dr. Roderick Sams

Newton High School Principal Dr. Roderick Sams resigned Wednesday, saying the choice was, "due to a series of issues that are personal in nature."

The popular principal had been at the school since 2008 and shared the news with the NHS faculty and staff in a meeting Wednesday afternoon. When reached by phone, he reiterated that his reasons for leaving the school were of a personal nature and declined to discuss particulars further at this time. According to Sams they were issues he had been dealing with for some time that were beginning to affect his ability to "be the best principal Newton High School needs at this point."

Newton County School System Superintendent Dr. Gary Mathews spoke to NHS faculty and staff at the meeting, saying that his full attention was now focused on the welfare and forward progress of NHS.

"Immediate stability for Newton High is a number one priority. As such, and as I have shared with the Board of Education in phone calls, Dr. Carl Skinner will serve as Interim Principal of Newton High School effective Sept. 2. Meanwhile, please know that Dr. Sams and his family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Previously, Skinner served as Assistant Principal at Newton High School for seven years from 2002 through 2009. At present, he is the school system’s Director of Testing, Research, and Evaluation.

According to Mathews, "Dr. Skinner, I believe, brings the professional expertise and relationship-building skills to ensure instructional improvement at Newton High. We are fortunate that he has accepted this interim appointment and I hope he will be a candidate for the permanent job which is entirely up to him."

Mathews indicated that the position of principal of Newton High School would be posted, interviews held, and the permanent principal appointed in the very near future. "Let me assure the Newton High School community that we will do nothing less than ultimately appoint the very best leader for NHS. It’s important to the students, to their parents, to the staff, and to the school and school system’s ultimate success," said Mathews.

As for his decision to resign, Sams called it "extremely difficult."

"It is one of the toughest decisions — if not the toughest decision — I have ever made in my life, but if it wasn’t tough, then it didn't mean anything to me. Know that it is definitely with a heavy heart that this decision was made."

Sams said that he would stay in the county and continue to be an active participant in the community and allow himself "to be used in whatever manner that I can for the community and even the school district if the opportunity presents itself."

According to Sams he has not decided where he will go next and plans to begin the process of working some of those personal issues that preceded his resignation before making that decision.

Sams’ decision to resign was not announced to students, and when asked what he would say to them, Sams said, "[I would tell them] I love them. Plain and simple, I love them. When the appropriate time comes I will be visiting and if it’s appropriate and permissible by the new principal, I will work in any capacity that I am asked. I am still here for the students if they need me."

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