New Dollarway superintendent prepares for start of classes

Bobby Acklin became superintendent of the Dollarway School District on July 1 and he has spent his first week on the job meeting with district personnel and mapping out what needs to be done before the new school year begins Aug. 19.

“Things have been going pretty smooth so far,” Acklin said Wednesday afternoon. “I have been doing a lot of talking to folks and working to put operational systems in place. This Friday I will be meeting with all district staff to make sure that we are all on the same page and that everybody understands what is expected of them.”

Acklin said he expects district employees to embrace the responsibility given to them and to do their jobs.

“I have been very pleased with the reception that district staff have given me and with their cooperation,” Acklin said. “I am impressed as well with the skill sets that these people have. I think that the organizational chart will show that they have the skills to do what I am asking them to do.”

Acklin said he is looking to accomplish several tasks before the start of the new school year.

“I would like to see the demolition of an old classroom building on the Dollarway High School campus that was replaced with a new building,” Acklin said. “I am working on getting that done as we speak. I am working to secure the help of the state prison system to lower the cost. Of course there will be the issue of asbestos abatement to be taken care of.”

Acklin said he also would like to see what he has identified as unused portable classroom buildings removed from district campuses.

“They just sit around and create an eyesore,” Acklin said. “Removing them also gives students less places to get into trouble.”

Acklin said that while several teaching positions are open, a number of positions have been filled as well.

“We are looking for a math teacher and a calculus teacher,” Acklin said. “Mrs. [Dornetta] Hobbs has been designated as the human resources director and is working with the principals on hires. We have already filled some positions including a physical science teacher. We had a Spanish teacher who had quit but she came back.”

Acklin said the district is using enrollment projections for the new school year to schedule employee staffing.

“We are going to schedule things tight because you can always hire new teachers later but you can’t eliminate a teaching position right away,” Acklin said.

Acklin said the students who attended the now-closed Altheimer-Martin Elementary School during the past school year have been scheduled into the remaining two elementary schools in the district.

“The children have been scheduled in and a new bus route for them has already been set up,” Acklin said. “We are going to host a reception next Tuesday for the staff who worked at Altheimer-Martin because there really was no closure to that process.”

Acklin said former Dollarway superintendent Frank Anthony brought him up to speed on the state of the district in recent weeks.

“We met off and on for the last two or three weeks,” Acklin said. “He briefed me and let me know what needed attention.”