Priscilla Cole, the new Dunwoody High School principal, laid out some of her plans to improve the school, including revamping the media center and creating local business internships, at a Dec. 6 Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber luncheon.
Cole started as principal of DHS eight weeks ago, replacing Tom McFerrin, who took another job in the DeKalb County School District. Cole was most recently an assistant principal at Fulton County’s Centennial High School in Roswell.
Pam Tallmadge, a Dunwoody city councilmember who is involved with the DHS Community Association, introduced Cole and said she has been well-received by the community.
“We are so excited to have her. She comes with high accolades from Centennial,” Tallmadge said at the event, which was held at Sage Woodfire Tavern at 4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
Cole said she helped write grants during her time in Centennial to bring design upgrades to the school, especially in the media center, and hopes to do the same at DHS. The upgrades included newer technology and flexible seating options so students could collaborate, she said.
“I think if we start in the media center it will affect the rest of the school,” she said.
Ashley Doolitte, the communications chair at the Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools, commented that walking into the current media center makes her feel like she has stepped back in time 50 years.
Cole said that feeling and the industrial look found throughout the school is what she wants to change.
She also hopes to more activity engage the Hispanic and lower-income population on “rigorous” courses, like Advanced Placement courses, including by educating parents on the courses’ availability and benefits.
In response to questions about how the business community could help students and the school, Cole said they could start mentoring students or create internships at their companies.
“Some of what is needed is just a basic mentoring to show students that you care,” she said.
If she could bring one aspect of Centennial High School to DHS, Cole said she would implement more teacher training on how to use new technology that is rolling out in the DeKalb County School District.
DHS students are scheduled to receive laptops provided by the district in January, and she wishes teachers had more time to learn how to use the technology and implement it in their courses.
“You don’t want it to become a paper weight,” she said.