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Principal shake-up strikes Halifax County High School

Halifax County High School has a new principal, and Halifax County Middle School has a new assistant principal. 

High school Interim Principal Michael Lewis said he gladly accepted the role Wednesday morning when he was approached by Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon and her staff. 

Former HCHS Principal Albert Randolph was reassigned Wednesday to Halifax County Middle School to serve as assistant principal. 

Attempts to reach Randolph for comment on the move were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday. 

However, a school board member who wished not to be identified shed some light on why the decision was made to transfer Randolph to the assistant principal post at the middle school.

The school board member said Superintendent Herndon had previously told the school board Randolph plans to retire after the next school year, and he has accumulated 160 vacation days. 

The school board member said Randolph either wanted to be paid for the 160 vacation days or be able to use those days.

The superintendent sought input from the board Monday evening on how to handle the situation since neither board members nor the superintendent wanted to be without a principal at the high school for 160 days. 

The school board member confirmed the decision on how to handle the matter was left to the discretion of the superintendent. 

In the new position as interim principal, this year marks the fourth year Lewis has been at the high school. He first came to the high school as an assistant principal with freshman transition duties before moving up to associate principal the next year. 

As associate principal, he continued to handle freshman transition tasks but also took on additional roles in instructional areas. 

“I’m excited to work with the staff here at Halifax County High School to support this community in any way I can as an interim principal,” said Lewis. 

Being that summer school has begun, Lewis said his job is to help the students attending to receive verified credits and standard credits toward their diploma.

He also will be focusing his time on getting ready for the 2014-15 school year by developing the master schedule with the administrative staff, filling vacancies for instructional positions and seeing that the building is clean and ready for the next year when students return to classes.  

Lewis said no reason was given to him for the move, and he added he had been instructed not to comment. 

“They asked me to accept this role to help the students here at Halifax County High School, and I gladly accepted that decision,” said Lewis. 

He took the position on an interim basis with the understanding the new role could be for a few weeks or longer. 

“During this time, I’m going to do the best I can to support the students and staff at this school. If they move in another direction or advertise the position, and they tell me go this direction or that direction, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Lewis. 

“I’m just here for the students,” said Lewis. “I’m going to try to put them first and make every plan I can to insure their success come this fall.”

Vince Newton, former assistant principal at Halifax County Middle School, also was notified Wednesday he has been reassigned. Newton will transfer to the high school to serve as interim assistant principal. 

He will be assisting the new interim principal alongside other assistant principals including Martha Chandler, Dawn Miller and Kelvin Davis. 

Davis was hired last month to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Assistant Principal Pedro Zamora Jr. at an annual salary of $56,021.

Wednesday morning Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon said the school division is looking to fill the position of interim associate principal and that it would “probably be one of the people at the high school.”  

The superintendent has the authority to transfer personnel at her discretion, but the school board is responsible for determining and setting salaries of those transferred.  

School board trustees are expected to handle these personnel matters Monday evening when they meet in closed session at the beginning of their regular monthly meeting.