The following was realeased by the Effingham County Board of Education
After considering 19 applicants for the principal position at South Effingham High School, the school board voted Wednesday night to hire Dan Noel of Stuart, Florida. Mr. Noel has 21 years experience as a principal and 29 years experience as an educator.
"My wife Karen and I are extremely excited about becoming part of the team at South Effingham High School," Noel said after accepting the position. "We are looking forward to working with the staff, students, parents and community. I plan to do a lot of listening at first," added Noel. "SEHS has wonderful teachers and a great staff and I'm eager to get to know each of them personally." He will begin this spring to work side by side with the current administration and staff and will be fully established before the 2007-08 school term begins.
"I am very satisfied with the school board's decision and am excited about Mr. Noel coming on board at SEHS," stated Superintendent Randy Shearouse. "His experience and energy level is impressive and I believe he will be a very positive addition to the SEHS family."
According to Becky Long, Director of Human Resources, Noel was highly recommended by former employers, fellow staff members and parents. His numerous letters of reference cited him as an energetic master at mobilizing parent and community support.
Among the list of accolades Noel has received from former staff members and high school parents, the veteran principal was said to be "even keeled and great with parents," "a student-oriented principal that earns respect," "a champion for student achievement," "a man with a vision and a team leader," "pleasantly assertive," "a collaborative decision maker," "leads by example with a wonderful sense of humor," "tireless dedication and perseverance to his students, staff, parents and community."
As the principal at South Fork High School in Martin County, Noel was nominated in 2000 as Florida's Outstanding Principal of the Year. In her letter of recommendation, Martin County Superintendent Sara Wilcox said this about Noel: "He has had a remarkable impact on the academic progression of students, on the expansion and extensive renovation of the campus, in the development of innovative career development programs and in fostering a positive educational climate in which to teach and learn."
In addition to his experience as a principal, Noel has served as an athletic director, vocational director, head boys' and girls' basketball coach, head football coach, head cross country and track coach and district physical education director.
Several of Noel's references described him as a principal with "charisma" who puts in the extra time necessary to assure that his students are successful and feel supported. Among his accomplishments as a high school principal, Noel has started an International Baccalaureate Program and doubled it within five years; organized the implementation of a student-directed bank on campus which was built by vocational students and run by students pursuing careers in finance; applied for and earned a grant to build Florida's only high school golf course which was also used for P.E. classes and to train students in turf management; established a freshman academy and drop-out prevention program; implemented a Kids Night Out Program; built an aquaculture lab and hydroponics lab; hosted student-directed television program; supervised a college scholarship program that received $2.4 million in 2005; and built a CAD 2000 drafting lab and robotics lab.
District One School Board Representative Eddie Tomberlin believes that Noel's "innovative and progressive-minded approach is going to provide SEHS with the direction it needs right now." One of the first things that the school board will charge the new principal with is the implementation of the freshman academy. The new wing designated for freshmen classes only is expected to be built and completed in time for the 2007-08 fall term. Noel will be instrumental in communicating with students, parents and staff about how the freshman academy concept will be integrated into the existing high school model. He is a firm believer in the statistics that prove that ninth grade academies are successful and beneficial.
"Beginning ninth grade is such a huge transition for students and the ninth grade academy concept has been proven to make that transition much smoother," stated Noel.
Having experience with several different approaches to the freshman academy concept, Noel understands that every academy has a different twist depending on the school's demographics and needs. The new principal said that he plans to organize information sessions this spring with parents and students in order to determine the type of freshman academy that is needed to fit the mold at SEHS.