Elizabethton City Schools announce new high school principal

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Star Photo/Rebekah Price Dr. Corey Gardenhour (left) announced Monday that EHS Assistant Principal Joshua Boatman(right) will be installed as the new EHS principal effective July 1.

Star Photo/Rebekah Price Dr. Corey Gardenhour (left) announced Monday that EHS Assistant Principal Joshua Boatman(right) will be installed as the new EHS principal effective July 1.

Cyclone Nation will welcome a familiar face into the position of principal in the coming school year. Director of Elizabethton City Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour announced Monday that Assistant Principal and Varsity Assistant Football Coach Joshua Boatman has been hired as the new principal of Elizabethton High School.

“It is with great reverence for the many successes of EHS, from the academic prowess that enables our students to achieve ACT scores that consistently rank in the top ten in the state, to the perennial championship caliber band, to the dominating athletic performances that yearly return conference, regional and state championships to the proud members of Cyclone Nation, that I accept the challenge of maintaining the current levels of success while striving tirelessly to continue improving upon those successes to ensure that the rest of the state recognizes what the people of this area already know: that Elizabethton High School is synonymous with excellence and will settle for nothing less,” Boatman said.

Current principal David Wright announced his retirement in April. He will satisfy his contract term through June 30, at which time Boatman will begin. Gardenhour said he hopes Boatman will serve for several years in this role and that he has a lot of confidence in Boatman’s commitment and ability to lead.

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Boatman has eight years of experience at EHS as an Assistant Principal, English teacher, junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant baseball coach, as well as junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant football coach. He will not be coaching in the coming year in order to focus his energy on his new responsibilities.

“He has taught at the high school and has a lot of colleagues that have given him a lot of support with letters to me and information about the good job he’s done, and I think that meant a lot,” Gardenhour said. “We need to listen to our teachers about what they felt that they needed.”

He said it was the little things, like Boatman’s commitment after hours to resolving issues, that gave administrators such confidence in their selection. He has experience teaching in a tested subject, which Gardenhour said gives him the first person understanding necessary to lead teachers in a data-driven age.

Despite the pressures of meeting state standards, Boatman said he believes positive student-teacher relations are at the core of academic success.

“We’re in the business to help the kids,” Boatman said. “No teacher goes into education with the goal of having great test scores. They go into education to make a difference in the lives of their students. I feel like that atmosphere and culture already exist at the high school. So supporting that, letting them know that we know how hard they work, talking to the students and seeing what they need, and then at that point, once you make a relationship with the kids, the academics come easily after that because students will work for teachers who care about them.”

Regarding testing, he said support for teachers is of paramount importance.  He said Gardenhour has shared a four-year plan which they believe will help to ensure teachers are supported, prepared and equipped with necessary professional development and materials. He said improving reading and writing skills will pave the way for success throughout students’ K-12 education. They plan to improve these by implementing a writing plan that children will take with them from elementary through graduation. Boatman said they will also change their benchmarking methods, so they know how students are understanding the material and performing in order to prevent end-of-year surprises. Each year, he said they are placing a stronger emphasis on reading, especially between grades K-3.

“Kids who read are successful,” Boatman said.

Gardenhour said one difference between Boatman and previous principals is that he has worked for years within Elizabethton schools.

“He chose us,” Gardenhour said. “He could have worked anywhere, but he’s been with us for years. He was successful as a teacher and as an administrator, so this is a natural next step. We have high hopes for him.”

Boatman thanked Gardenhour, the Board of Education and teachers at the high school for their support in this decision and said he hopes to improve upon the successes of previous principals and teachers.

“I know he has a vision for what Elizabethton High School can be, and that is in line with the vision of the Board and myself, so we’re just honored to have him as part of our system and honored to have him as our next principal,” Gardenhour said. “We want him to stay for several years and really transform the high school into what it’s going to be. It’s the next generation.