TCSS hires new principal at Callaway Middle School

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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On Monday at a special called Troup County School Board meeting, Dr. Clifton F. Nicholson was announced as Callaway Middle School’s new principal.

Nicholson said he was both excited and nervous to take the new role.

“I’ve got a mixture of emotions right now, but I’m definitely excited. I’ve done high school for many years, and I’ve done K-6 for many years, but I haven’t done seventh and eighth grade since a leadership internship in my student teaching,” Nicholson said.

“I’m excited at this opportunity. It’ll be the first time in five years that I’ve entered the building, not knowing anyone, but I’m fully prepared and ready for work. I’m leaving the comfort zone of being a part of a family for almost five years, having relationships with parents, teachers and students. Now everyone is going to be new — that’s a different feeling that I have not had for some time.”

Nicholson has 21 years of educational experience. He served as a language arts teacher for nine years in Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools, served as an instructional coach for three years before moving into school administration and has nine years of experience in school administrative roles serving as assistant principal and principal.

Once he took the new position, Nicholson said he took a look at CMS’ current school improvement plan and saw the plan was to increase end-of-course scores by 10%, increase literacy proficiency by 10% and decrease student discipline by 10%.

He said as he took the information in, he thought of his philosophy and how he can help the school achieve those goals as its new principal.

“The three things that I’ve targeted wherever I go has been parental engagement, student safety and teacher support,” Nicholson said. “You hear all about student safety and people think it’s just from external threats. I have been in the field for so long and a lot of times, the unsafety of students comes from within the building. You have bullies, physical threats of intimidation, or peer pressure. I know for students to learn, they have to be they have to feel comfortable, they have to feel safe.”

Nicholson said as a part of his second goal, he plans to fully address the needs of teachers and be their biggest advocate. 

“The second biggest thing for student success besides an effective teacher is an involved parent. I know how important that is, so my goal personally aside from the school’s goals, is to attack those three head-on and try to see if I can increase those three because I know they go hand-in-hand with student achievement,” Nicholson said. 

Nicholson’s first day as principal of Callaway Middle is on June 12.

“What I love about LaGrange is that it seems like a family. It’s really personal. I feel like if I needed something at Callaway, I would know who I’m talking to and not be just another voice on the other end of the line,” Nicholson said. 

Nicholson said he will be doing a tour of CMS on Thursday and will be available for a meet-and-greet for parents from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.