Monday will be the first day of school for students in the Rowan-Salisbury system but for
Knox Middle School it will be more than that, it will be the first day of a new
"We said earlier that when the students came back we
wanted to give them the wow factor," co-principal Latoya Dixon told WBTV. "We feel that's what's going to happen on
Monday, and that's very exciting."
The wow factor? That's what these two
principals are counting on…that's right, two principals at one middle school.
Michael Waiksnis and Latoya Dixon were introduced to
community leaders in June. The concept
is very different, but support has been building.
"We know that our actions are going to have to speak for
us and it's not going to be about what we say in a meeting but what parents and
community members see when they come here," Waiksnis told WBTV.
"We're not sure that it would work for just anybody, that
you could take two individuals who are good in their own right, place them
together and expect them to be able to complete this model of leadership,
collaboratively," Dixon added. "We think because we already have an established sense of
professional trust and a history of working together and it's something we very
much enjoy, that we don't have to work to earn that, those things have already
Knox has struggled on several fronts, but many say a lack of leadership has
hurt. There have been 4 principals in
the last 6 years.
The new principals have the support of the local
hospital, the business community, and the city even contracted with the
principals to boost their salaries.
"We've had a number of folks to donate resources, time,
and talent to help make our school better," Dixon added.
Volunteers have spruced up the buildings with new mulch
and new paint, but these principals know the changes will have to be deeper
than the surface, and they say they're committed to turning this school around.
There does seem to be genuine enthusiasm at the school
now. During a big pep rally Thursday, the Knox staff was among the most excited.
"There's just so much excitement, we have so much
potential, we're just excited to get working with the students when they come
back on Monday," Waiksnis told WBTV.
Parents who have spoken with WBTV over the last few weeks say they're
willing to give the concept a try.