Gandy Elementary hires new principal

Tim Taylor brings 27 years of experience as an educator as he takes the helm as principal at Gandy Elementary School in White Hall.

“I look forward to working with the students at Gandy Elementary School,” Taylor, who was hired by the White Hall School Board at a June 10 meeting, said. “The key to success as a principal is fostering student success.”

The job became vacant when outgoing principal Chad Withers accepted a job as principal at Benton Harmony Grove High School in Haskell, Superintendent Larry Smith said. Taylor will continue leading as Withers did for the last two years, Smith said.

“Mr. Taylor brings a wealth of experience, great interpersonal skills and an ability to work with kids, parents and teachers,” Smith said. “He came very highly recommended and fits into the community well.”

To achieve student success, Taylor will guide the district to meet federal and state regulations and its own school improvement plan, he said. His goals are “improving test scores, working with the central office, helping kids to enjoy school and making Gandy the best in White Hall and the state.”

While Taylor will not officially begin until July 1, he will soon be evaluating candidates vying for open teaching jobs. In addition, he will become familiar with a new online system for evaluating teachers.

The teaching profession has changed greatly since he entered the profession, he said.

“Education changes so rapidly. It is amazing how much effort and time it takes to keep up with changing procedures and policies,” he said.

“Teaching to the test is necessary because it is required, although it takes away a degree of teacher creativity,” Taylor said. “But teachers are allowed to be creative in other ways. They have an array of technological tools that did not used to exist.”

His resume includes having been the principal at L.L. Owen Elementary School in the Watson Chapel School District; a principal in Rison public schools; a teacher in Kingsland public schools; and the educational director and residential administrator at Millcreek School, an institution for students with disabilities and psychiatric issues in Fordyce.

Tim Taylor credits his wife Kelly Taylor, a teacher of 30 years; son Zach Taylor, also a teacher; and daughter Brooke Burroughs.