A Smith-Cotton High School alumnus who “bleeds black and gold” will be the school’s next principal, while S-C Junior High School students will see a familiar face move into that building’s top leadership position.
The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education on Monday night approved promoting current junior high principal Wade Norton to be the high school’s principal; Jason Curry, currently a junior high assistant principal, will replace Norton as junior high principal.
Both will assume their new positions on July 1.
Both are graduates of Smith-Cotton High. Norton has been principal at the junior high the past two years; his experience includes teaching at Skyline Elementary School for six years, as well as serving as principal at that building for three years and principal at Heber Hunt Elementary for five years.
Curry has been assistant principal at the junior high for the past four years. Previously, he was a health and physical education teacher at the high school and served as varsity soccer coach.
Curry said he is grateful for the opportunity to lead his own building, and is pleased that Superintendent Harriet Wolfe, assistant superintendents Nancy Scott and Brad Pollitt and the school board “have faith that I can do the job.”
“That really means something, that they believe I have done well and taken care of business the past four years,” he said.
Speaking of his time at the junior high, Norton said: “I haven’t been here long enough. I am leaving some things that in my head, in my vision, that I would love to stay here and see through. But ... Mr. Curry is very capable. We kind of have the same vision on a lot of things, and I know that all my crazy ideas are going to continue on with Mr. Curry and the junior high is going to be just fine.”
Norton has spent his entire education career in the Sedalia district, “and at every single position he has made a huge difference,” Wolfe said. “He has always made improvements that have the best results for students.”
She also called Norton “a very effective change agent” and lauded his leadership at the junior high building as it transitioned from being a high school to a facility for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders.
Speaking of Curry, Wolfe said it was “a no-brainer for us to move him into that spot.”
“Jason is very solid,” she added. “He has been a good, solid figure at the junior high and ... he understands the goals for that building, he understands the staff and the students.”
Wolfe said Curry’s strong background in curriculum will be of value as the more challenging Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP5) and Common Core standards are enacted.
“I need to get a good grasp on MSIP5 and Common Core, those are large things that I have to have an understanding of,” Curry said. “The new attendance incentives and MSIP5 expectations will affect every building differently.”
Wolfe said Norton is focused on having the school and community interact on a regular basis. She also finds him to be a Tiger through and through.
“One of his key issues is he bleeds black and gold. He is Mr. Smith-Cotton,” she said. “School spirit is huge to him, fidelity to your school is huge to him.”
Norton wants to build on the “Tiger pride” that former Principal Martin White and current Principal Steve Triplett have fostered at the high school.
“I want students to get everything they can get out of their high school careers, be it academics, be it athletics, be it co-curricular activities — I want them to have the whole high school experience,” he said. “I want them to have it all.”