New principal at King’s Fork High

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dr. Ronald Leigh skipped a few grades with his recent promotion from Hillpoint Elementary School to King’s Fork High School.

Dr. Ronald Leigh skipped a few grades with his recent promotion from Hillpoint Elementary School to King’s Fork High School.

Ronald Leigh gets to skip a few grades this year, and the students in his new school could benefit as much as he did from the promotion.

Leigh, who served as principal at Hillpoint Elementary School last year, has taken the leadership position at King’s Fork High School this year.

Leigh has a background in high school administration, and he’s quick to point out the differences between his duties as a principal in elementary versus high school.

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One of the biggest differences between the two schools is the number of after-school activities, he said. He likened this to top-spinning. As a principal of an elementary school, you have more control over what’s going on.

At King’s Fork, things will be slightly different.

“I have an app for that,” Leigh said playfully, referring to the King’s Fork High School app that helps him keep up with all that’s going on.

“A good principal is very seldom in his office,” Leigh said, explaining that a principal needs to be seen in order for students to get to know and respect him.

“Your presence needs to be felt within the building,” he said.

And that’s what he likes most about being a principal: “The relationships with the kids.”

He recalled a shy girl he used to teach. At the end of the school year, she gave him a silver dollar, one of many that had been given to her by her grandfather. Leigh thought it best to call to confirm this with her parents, but they told him that the girl really wanted him to have it. He still has that silver dollar.

Prior to his career in administration, Leigh taught seventh and eighth graders at a couple of junior high and middle schools in North Carolina. While his bachelor’s degree is in history education, he ended up also teaching language arts, pre-algebra and special education.

After a number of years teaching, he was told he might want to look into administration, due to some cutbacks. He said he was in the middle of cutting his parent’s grass when an assistant superintendent drove past the house and stopped to speak with him. The administrator offered him the opportunity to interview for a full-time assistant principal position, but only if he stopped what he was doing and came right away. The rest was history.

In North Carolina, he worked in administration, as an assistant principal, as an interim athletic director and even as a basketball and football coach.

After serving as principal at Robertson Elementary and Mack Benn Jr. Elementary, he took on the position of principal at Hillpoint Elementary School and helped it open in 2008. The school was accredited after its first year, Leigh said.

For those interested in entering into the field of education, Leigh gave a few helpful tips. “I think you have to be tough,” Leigh said. “I think you really have to love people.”