David Stephenson says he plans to learn from the community, staff and students about what makes the school “special” and “build off it” as he leads Woodland High next school year.

The Bartow County School Board recently approved Superintendent Phillip Page’s recommendation to hire Stephenson as principal beginning July 1.

It will be Stephenson's first job as a principal after 12 years as an assistant principal, teacher and coach at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, he said.

He said he was "delighted and very excited" when he heard he was hired.

"It opens opportunities to work with so many fine students and staff," Stephenson said.

Stephenson, 47, will replace Wes Dickey, who is moving to become principal at South Central Middle School after three years as Woodland’s principal.

The new principal said he “was fortunate to be coming into a building that has been under the great leadership of Dr. Dickey” and will be immediately working to familiarize himself with those closest to the school.

The staff at Woodland High “have all been very welcoming and eager to help and support the transition,” Stephenson said.

However, he said he believed Woodland is the "perfect combination of size, scope, and community.”

“It seems like a terrific fit with its excellence in fine arts, athletics and advanced learning opportunities," Stephenson said.

Woodland High opened in 1997 and has an enrollment of about 1,600. It is on Old Alabama Road.

Feeder schools include Euharlee, Mission Road, Taylorsville, Euharlee and Emerson elementary schools, and South Central and Woodland middle schools.

According to information on the school’s website, Stephenson will be the seventh principal in its history, following Nettie Holt, Jimmy Gainey, Ken Prichard, Brian Newhall, Paul Sabin, Melissa Williams, and Dickey.

Stephenson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, master's degree from Arizona State University, and education specialist degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia. He attended Kennesaw State for a certification in Leadership Studies.

He worked for eight years as a teacher in northern California and Arizona before moving to teach at North Cobb High School in 2006.

At North Cobb, he served as an assistant principal since 2006 and worked as coordinator of the school’s International Studies magnet program, taught government and world history, and served as head coach of the track and field and cross country teams.

According to the North Cobb website, he was named Teacher of the Year in 2011.

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