Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 12, 2012

New beginnings for Lowndes County Schools

REMERTON — Monday was a day of new beginnings for Lowndes County Schools. Jaybez “Jay” Frank Floyd served his first official day as principal of Lowndes High School and former LHS principal Wes Taylor was sworn in as the new superintendent of Lowndes County Schools — though he officially takes office July 1 — in place of retired superintendent, Dr. Steve Smith.

“There’s a lot of pressure coming in,” said Floyd. “(Taylor) is very well respected in the state and nationally.”

Floyd’s relationship with Taylor is already a unique one. While there is a certain level of pressure on Floyd to fill the shoes of a man who is not only beloved by LHS, but by the community, there is an added level of expectation when the shoes he’s filling are also those of his new boss.

“It’s kind of rare to have a superintendent who has been in a principalship for 9 years,” said Floyd. “It’s a huge advantage.”

Floyd sees his relationship with Taylor as something special that will help take LHS to the next level.

“We definitely want to be a model for the state,” said Floyd.

Floyd has a history of making grand improvements to a school. As an administrator in Cartersville, he has increased graduation rates to 85.7 percent, received a System Stellar Performer Award in Administration, doubled the number of students taking advanced placement and honor classes, established one of the highest attendance rates in the state (97 percent average daily attendance), developed a nationally recognized Renaissance Program, was recognized as a Jostens Model School, cut discipline rates in half, was recognized as the top media center in the south on the use of e-books and developed and implemented a system called Character Education Program - Changing Lives.

So what plans does Floyd have for LHS? While he has many things in mind, he remains certain that whatever improvements are made will be characteristic of Lowndes alone.“It has to be specific for Lowndes High School,” said Floyd.

Floyd hopes to improve disciplinary actions by making them more consistent, he plans to address attendance and has aspirations of creating an environment where every student has a connection to the school and knows that they have someone in school that cares about them.

“Ensure we have a healthy culture for teachers and for students to maximize on their learning opportunities,” said Floyd explaining one of his priorities.

With expectations, hopes and the fact that he’s the new guy aside, Floyd is thoroughly excited to make Valdosta and LHS his home. He even received a big welcome from LHS’s student council who decorated his new office with streamers, balloons and a welcome sign.

“I think this is a very special place and I look forward to this being my home,” said Floyd.

As Floyd’s chapter begins, Taylor enters into the next chapter of his life with the Lowndes County family as he was sworn in by Superior Court Judge James G. Tunison, Jr. as superintendent at Monday night’s Lowndes County Board of Education meeting.

Taylor stood with his wife Jennifer as he was sworn in and three of his four daughters proudly watched from the audience.

“Do you want to come up here now?” Smith asked with a laugh.

“No sir,” Taylor jokingly replied.

For the final time as current superintendent, Smith reviewed the system’s vision, mission, motto and goals that he’s been reciting for as long as they have been in place. While Monday signified the closing of a decade long chapter in Smith’s life, it also signified the great beginning for Floyd and Taylor who each have high expectations for Lowndes High School and Lowndes County Schools.

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