Eclan David said he is an educator who cares about students and is committed to their success. The Griffin-Spalding County middle-school principal is excited to bring his educational philosophy to the high school level as the new principal of Newton High School.
David, 39, has spent the past nine years as the principal at Carver Road Middle School in Griffin, where he was responsible for ensuring that students and teachers had the necessary resources, work and learning environment to achieve academic success. But at the last Newton County Board of Education meeting, he was named the new Newton High principal and will now serve as a leader at a high school.
Born and raised in the St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, David said he has always felt good about playing an important role in the lives of so many young people as an educator.
Prior to serving as principal at Carver Middle, he was the assistant principal for two years at A.Z. Kelsey Middle School in Griffin. And before that he was an elementary and middle school teacher for six years in the DeKalb County School System.
He said working at both the elementary and middle school level, he found that students don’t trust educators unless they believe those educators truly care about them. He said this is also true at the high school level.
"It doesn’t matter if you have degrees from Tuskegee or Harvard; (students) will not care about what you know until they know that you care," David said. "If you can’t build relationships with students, you will not be successful."
David said he believes that each and every child has the potential to be successful. The potential, he said, must be nurtured through the commitment of the entire community — educators, parents, businesses, and civic, faith-based, and non-profit organizations.
"Our combined efforts have the ability to transform an entire community of students," David said. "I do not subscribe to the belief of, ‘If I can save one child, then I have done my job.’ If I can only positively affect the life of one child, then I have failed; failure is not an option for the students of Newton High School."
Under the leadership of Craig Lockhart, Newton High School has made several accomplishments over the past three years. The school earned a score of 76 on the 2013 CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) report, surpassing the state average of 72.6; reached an 88 percent Rate of Improvement in academic achievement over a three-year period; was named a Title I Reward School for 2012-13; and reached a four-year cohort graduation rate of 83 percent, compared with the state’s 69.7 percent.
Lockhart has often credited the schools’ success to the commitment of the faculty and staff. David echoed Lockhart’s belief that having strong, committed leaders at a school pushes its students for academic achievement. He added that every decision that he makes as principal must be about the students.
In addition to overall student improvements at Newton High, Newton’s class of 2013 earned a record amount in academic scholarships, totaling $10.3 million. David said he would continue bringing scholarship opportunities and experiences to NHS students because they don’t know what’s out there until they are exposed to those opportunities.
"When I think back on my experiences as a high school student, exposure is what made the difference for me... If students don’t have access to college-level experiences, they will never believe that college is a possibility," David said.
"This means creating more partnerships similar to the (Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School) and Oxford College, increasing the number of students taking AP classes and building on an environment that lets students know that college is always an option."
David has a B.S. degree in elementary education from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., a M.Ed. degree in educational administration and leadership from the University of West Georgia, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Georgia and expects to graduate next spring. David plans to be in Newton County full-time this week, He and his wife Victoria have been married for 10 years, and have two children, Eres Olivia and Eclan Emanuel III (Tripp).