Knox Middle School to have two principals

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Knox Middle School in Salisbury has been the scene of a lot of change over recent years, particularly when it comes to the principal's office.

Now the school system will try something new to establish consistency at Knox: having two principals.

Details were announced at a press conference on Tuesday, but Rita Foil, Public Information Officer with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools told WBTV about the unique arrangement.

Through partnerships with Catawba College, Livingstone College, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, Inc. and the City of Salisbury, the Rowan-Salisbury School System is excited to be announcing this unique and innovative plan for Knox Middle," Foil wrote in an email to WBTV.

"District officials are especially excited to be introducing two transformational leaders that will be directing the change in preparing Knox students, staff and the community towards a great future; Dr. Michael Waiksnis and Dr. Latoya Dixon. These two principals are eager to meet the Knox community and to begin the transformation process."

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody introduced Waiksnis and Dixon to a group in the Knox Media Center that included the presidents of Catawba and Livingstone Colleges, Dave Setzer from the Robertson Foundation, Falon Nye from Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Salisbury City manager Doug Paris, school board members, and several school administrators and parents.

"Knox needs stability, it needs direction, it needs support from the central office," parent Kimber Huffman told WBTV.  "A lot of children here at Knox don't even have a stable and consistent home life, and so to have that consistency somewhere, you've looked for it at the school, and when you have a middle school that can't keep a principal, can't keep staff, you know that is the biggest downfall because these children need consistency, they need to be able to count on something in their life."

"I just hope that it's not wasteful in the long run, that the money is not better spent with teacher assistants, media assistants, and other places in the school," Huffman added, admitting that she was willing to give the concept a chance.

Waiksnis and Dixon are both currently serving as principals at separate schools in the Rock Hill, South Carolina, school system.  That is the same system that was led by Dr. Moody prior to her coming to Rowan-Salisbury.

"We kind of see our role as putting all of the pieces together and moving the school forward," Waiksnis told WBTV.

"We believe when you engage the parents, the students, the community, the teachers, in a sense of teamwork that you get to take a look at those challenges and make those things opportunities and eventually work your way to a pretty remarkable success," Dixon added.

Both principals are awaiting their anticipated release from the Rock Hill system and hope to be in place at Knox in July.

"There's a lot of positive energy about making Knox the best that it can be and a lot of great people who want the very best for this school and for the students of this school," Waiksnis added.  "We don't intend to come in here and flip things upside down so to speak but to really gather everyone to the table and come up with a plan and then execute the plan."