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WHS searches for new principal

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By Bryan Marshall

Williamstown High School Principal Dave Johnstone hopes his second retirement lasts longer than his first.

Johnstone initially retired in September 2009 after spending 20 years as principal in four different schools in northern Kentucky.

Six months later, he replaced former WHS principal Misty Buchanan on an interim basis before being hired for the job full-time.
Johnstone will be retiring again after this school year.

“The thing that I will miss most is the people,” he said. “I have really enjoyed working with the staff and students. They are the best. I hope that everyone in the community realizes the level of commitment of the staff here. They go the extra mile. Also, the parents should be proud of their children. They are great kids who are really excellent to work with.”

With a fifth grandchild on the way and an 84-year-old father who needs him, Johnstone said the time was right to retire.
“Also, I’m not getting any younger and I just decided to pull back and spend a little more time enjoying this part of my life,” he said. “I hope to play more golf and fly my radio-controlled airplanes for recreation. I don’t have any plans to go back to work at this time. I may do something eventually, but I am scaling back.”   

Johnstone served as a teacher at Taylor Mill Elementary, Turkeyfoot Middle School and Twenhofel Middle. He also spent three years as principal at Southern Elementary, one year at Miles Elementary and four years at Kenton Elementary before spending 12 years as principal at Summit View Middle School.

Johnstone said he is glad he had the opportunity to work at Williamstown. His best memories were seeing the proud and smiling parents watch their sons and daughters walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma.

During Johnstone’s tenure, he led the WHS staff to two “U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools” silver medal rankings. WHS was ranked 18th in the state in 2012 and 11th in 2013, placing it in the top 5 percent of all high schools across the state.  
Superintendent Sally Skinner said Johnstone was also instrumental in transitioning the school to new national core academic standards.
“Although Mr. Johnstone’s tenure with us was only three years, he came at a time when the district needed an experienced successful leader on board to transition staff and students to new national standards, a new and multi-faceted assessment accountability model and embedded 21st century learning strategies,” Skinner said.
“He has embraced the district’s tradition of excellence and has therefore made numerous contributions which will forever be a part of the foundation of tomorrow’s legacy,” she said.   
The principal selection committee, which consists of WHS site-based decision making council members and Skinner, has begun the process of searching for a new principal with hopes of finding a replacement for the position close to the end of this school year.