Archived Story

Odom named PCHS principal

Published 6:03am Saturday, August 10, 2013

PHIL CAMPBELL – Phil Campbell High School has gone through many changes in the past two years, and the start of this school year holds one more very significant change – a new principal.
At Tuesday’s Franklin County School Board meeting, board members voted 3-2 to transfer Tharptown High School principal Gary Odom to PCHS where he will serve as the new principal.
Superintendent Gary Williams said there were 10 applicants for the position that was left vacant following the resignation of Cindy Davis, who was principal at PCHS for the past four years.
Williams said five of those applicants were called in for interviews and Odom stood out as the best one to take on the many challenges that PCHS will face in the coming months and years.
“Gary has had a successful tenure as a principal at three other county schools, so we knew he would be fully aware of the duties and responsibilities that come with that position,” Williams said.
“I believe that experience alone made him more than capable to do the job, but Gary is also a hometown boy. He is from Phil Campbell and I think his experience combined with his connection to the town and the school make him the right person to unify the school during this time of changes and challenges.”
Odom has served in an administrative position for 15 years as the principal at East Franklin Junior High School, Phil Campbell Elementary School and, most recently, Tharptown High School.
Odom also served as the assistant principal at Phil Campbell High School before accepting the job four years ago as principal at THS.
“I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve as the principal at a school that is near and dear to my heart,” Odom said.
“Phil Campbell is the school I graduated from and where my kids went to school, and it just feels like coming home.”
Even though Odom said returning to PCHS felt like coming home, he said it’s a lot different “home” than he remembered.
“There are a lot of things that have changed at Phil Campbell since the tornado destroyed the old school and the students and faculty had to move into mobile units,” Odom said.
“I had imagined what it would be like working from these units, but my first day out here, I just didn’t realize what a challenge it is.
“But the faculty and students at Phil Campbell are strong and they have learned to adapt to these many changes, and I know that we will make it through these transitions and come out better for it.
“Until then, we will just continue to do the things we know we need to do to be a successful school.”
Odom said he was well aware that a change in leadership could be a big challenge in itself during such a tumultuous time for the school, but he said he was ready to take on the job.
“The school is the hub of this community, and I already have goals in mind to help us keep up or test scores so they will be as good as any school in the state, to work on our attendance, and to foster a continued pride in this school and its students and faculty,” he said.
“There will be some rough times in the days ahead I’m sure, but I have already received great encouragement for many of the residents there, and I am looking forward to being part of the team here at Phil Campbell and watching the school grow.”

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