After serving at the helm of Conyers Middle School for two years, Principal Torian White will be moving closer to his hometown to serve as the principal of Southeast Bulloch Middle School in southeast Georgia.
He and his wife Tasheina, a teacher at West Newton Elementary, grew up in the Bulloch County/Effingham County area and have extended family there.
Although the move is good personally and professionally, it's "bittersweet," said White. "It does your heart good to know people value the contributions you've been giving," he said of the reaction from the CMS community.
His two years at CMS have taught him a lot, he said. "It's about people. It's about investing in relationships with people. People don't care what you know until they know that you care.
"Leadership is about the we and not the me. It's about finding leaders within the organization and developing other people who may not have seen themselves as leaders. You have to have the heart of a servant."
"I'm excited about our teacher's work," he said. He pointed out recent CCRI scores that rose despite the changes in the evaluation structure. "When all the rules of the game change, to see growth speaks volumes about our teachers' work every day."
White has spent his 10-year career in Rockdale County, starting as a math teacher at Salem High in 2003, serving as a graduation coach and curriculum instructor, and being promoted to CMS principal in 2012. He was SHS's Teacher of the Year in 2007, identified as one of 36 Emerging Leaders by an education trade group in 2011, and is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Rockdale.
As a ninth grade math teacher, at Salem he saw the freshmen coming in and what they lacked. This awareness drives his direction to middle school students. "Knowing where they're going helps," he said. He refers to the classes by the year they'll graduate high school - sixth graders are the Class of 2020.
White was inspired to pursue a career in education by his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Carter. "She allowed me to see the scholar in me," he said, even though she didn't look like him. "I've always operated with a world view that you care about kids regardless of what they look like and where they come from."
White and his wife have two sons, Tyler, 6, and Trenton, 4, and are members of Springfield Baptist Church. White graduated from South Effingham High School as valedictorian in 1999, from UGA in 2003, has a master's from Troy State University, a specialist's degree from Cambridge College. He will receive his doctorate from Mercer University in August.
His last day as principal is June 30. Allison Barbour, who is currently principal at Sims Elementary and a former CMS assistant principal, was recently approved as CMS's new principal.