The end of an era is oftentimes met with harsh criticism, disappointment and a reluctance to change. However, with every parting of ways comes the opportunity to begin anew.
Such is the state of Leesville Road High School. As of Thursday, March 1, Dr. Thomas Dixon officially began his time as the interim principal at LRHS, where he is expected to serve for the next couple of months.
Dixon has certainly been around the administrative circuit in recent years; since retiring as the principal at Apex High in 2006, Dixon has served as the interim principal at Middle Creek High, Wake-Forest Rolesville High, Reedy Creek Middle and Carrol Middle before eventually landing at Leesville this spring.
While this may be Dixon’s first time working at Leesville, he already has plenty of prior experience with the school. “When the school first opened in the early 90’s, I was good friends with Leesville’s first ever principal, Richard Murphy, so he and I kept in constant communication over the years,” said Dixon. “Also, Dr. Gainey was one of my teachers at Apex when he left to become an assistant principal here, so I’ve always known about the school and held it in an extremely high light.”
In Dixon’s other temporary stints, his primary focus has been to maintain the daily operations of each school; according to the school-wide announcement he gave on Thursday, it appears Dixon hopes to do the same with the Pride.
“My goal is for there to be a seamless transition with my arrival. Leesville had plenty going on before I got here, and I only hope that I can keep everything running as smoothly as possible,” said Dixon.
Dr. Stone, science teacher, said, “I like his philosophy. He’s coming into a situation in the middle of the school year and isn’t trying to change everything. It’s a good mindset to have and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.”
During Dixon’s first two days at Leesville Road, he spent the majority of his time going to each classroom door-to-door, meeting both faculty and students along the way. Said Dixon, “When I go to schools, I hope to integrate myself with the school. I want to know the teachers, know the students, know the community. I want to be a part of the Pride, because with temporary stays, the more connected and involved you are, the more enjoyable and rewarding the experiences you have there.”
Mallory Boris, junior, said, “He only stepped into the classroom for a quick second, but you tell that he’s a good guy and excited to be at Leesville. He seemed experienced, like he knew what he was doing, but more importantly, he looked eager to tackle his new job.”
While Dixon has only been at LRHS for less than a week, he mentioned one aspect of his new school that really stood out to him. “With most temporary jobs, students aren’t necessarily ready to embrace you as their principal,” said Dixon. “That’s the one thing that has really stood out to me so far; even with the limited amount of time I’ve been here, everyone– teachers, students, and administrators– has been so warm to me. It just shows me what kind of school Leesville is, and it makes proud to work here.”