City schools welcome new principals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The Selma times-journal

When a new school year begins on Aug. 15, the freshmen at Selma High and seventh-graders at Selma Middle CHAT Academy won’t be the only ones who have to become familiar with a new school.

Their principals will be making the same adjustments, too.

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Both Selma High and CHAT Academy have new administrative leaders this year after the schools’ previous principals-Charlotte Griffeth at CHAT and Joe Peterson at Selma High-left their posts over the summer.

The new principal at CHAT Academy is Bertram Pickney, the former assistant principal of Southside High School.

Before joining the staff of the city school system, Pickney worked with the Dallas County system for nine years.

Though he spent many years working at the high school level, Pickney said he does have some experience working with younger students. He was a teacher at Martin Middle School the year the school opened.

“I’m excited about working at CHAT,” Pickney said. “It’s interesting to be at a school that has integrated arts and technology under one umbrella.”

Pickney said two programs that attracted him to CHAT Academy are the school’s dance program and television station.

“The dance studio looks like a professional studio,” he said. “The television studio they have is like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Pickney said he has been working closely with Griffeth, who now works with the City of Selma, to facilitate a smooth transition.

“Mrs. Griffeth planted the seed, now I’m going to water it,” he said. “I hope to take the school to the next level.”

Pickney said he plans to increase the community’s awareness about the programs CHAT Academy has to offer and increase more involvement from parents and local businesses.

Roosevelt Wilson, the new Selma High principal, said he wants to meet with the school’s faculty before deciding on any major plans for the school.

“I want the faculty to have input in any plans,” he said. “I believe in teamwork.”

Wilson said one thing he does plan to implement at the school is a strict enforcement of the dress code.

“I’m going to enforce the dress code for every student in the building,” he said.

Another change Wilson said students will notice his fall is the return to the seven period schedule.

“We are going to be transitioning from the block schedule to the seven period schedule and I’m excited about moving back to that concept,” he said.

Wilson came to the Selma City School System from the State Department of Education.

Before moving to Montgomery last April, Wilson served as an assistant principal and principal at schools in Huntsville for many years.

“I missed the interaction with the students,” Wilson said of his decision to leave his job with the State. “I didn’t realize I would miss it that much.”

Wilson started his new job at Selma High last week and said he wasn’t intimidated by the school’s large size.

“I worked at Bob Jones, which was the third largest school in the state,” he said. “Size is not a factor, it’s a matter of organization and planning.”

Wilson said he was also impressed with the school’s Early College High School and is working the program’s facilitator to become more familiar with the concept.

Currently, Wilson said he is overseeing summer school and Selma High and various repairs to get it ready for school this fall.

“I’m delighted to be working here,” he said.