Two is better than one

Both Mr. Aaron Carter and Mr. Antonio Derricotte were chosen to be the co-interim principals after previous Cedar Shoals principal Derrick Maxwell announced his resignation in late October. After months of adjusting to their new positions, Carter and Derricotte have implemented new policies to help students and teachers finish the 2019-2020 school year in a positive manner.  

In November, Carter and Derricotte had a few priorities in order to make the transition easier for students and staff. 

“We wanted to look at where we were in terms of what was going on already and what Mr. Maxwell had put in place,” Derricotte said. “We wanted to reassure people that school was still going on, and we were going to try to move forward.” 

While the co-interims focused on the transition for students and staff, they also wanted to begin working on student behaviors and outcomes such as grades and attendance as soon as possible. 

“We’re really focusing on helping students become more disciplined as far as going to class on time, and being responsible for their attendance, their behavior and their grades,” Carter said. 

With the small but important changes that the co-interims have made, they have noticed significant progress in attendance. 

Graphic by Coriander McGreevy

“The data actually shows that our average daily attendance is on the uptake for the past couple of weeks. Our tardies are actually down by about five-percent since the beginning of the school year,” Carter said. 

Even though school seems to be running smoothly, teachers and faculty still want to see continued improvement from the co-interims. 

“I always think a focus on culture, togetherness, relationship building and school spirit helps,” said Ariel Gordon, counseling department chair. 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: Mr. Carter walks around the Cedar Shoals halls, making conversation with familiar students. “My ability to build relationships, connect with the com- munity, and do what’s best for students is hopefully why I was chosen for this job,” said Carter. Photo By Coriander McGreevy.

Carter plans to implement Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) in the upcoming months. 

“It’s basically a school-wide incentive and reward program for students, to promote a positive culture and to try to get kids to do the right thing,” Carter said. 

Derricotte returned to Cedar in the 2017-18 school year after graduating from Cedar Shoal in 1995. He was named “Mr. Cedar Shoals” in his senior year. 

“We were very diverse and a national school of excellence,” Derricotte said. “It’s been great to see how times have changed and there are opportunities still here that a lot of people don’t even know about.” 

After high school, Derricotte worked at Oglethorpe County High School for 16 years. He lived in Clarke County, but he never really intended to come back to Cedar. Multiple people told him that he should take the opportunity, and after a conversation with his family, he made the decision to return. 

Graphic by Coriander McGreevy

“The first time somebody mentioned returning, I hadn’t really thought about it, so I started doing a little bit of research and finding more out about the school,” Derricotte said. 

Mr. Carter’s career path began with his first job at Cedar Shoals as a paraprofessional in 2008, and after various positions within Cedar in between including teaching social studies and serving as assistant principal, he was offered the co-interim principal title along with Derricotte.

“I’ve always believed that my work ethic and what I bring to the table will speak for itself. It’s been an interesting journey, but I have enjoyed it,” Carter said. 

With their impending plans, they want to take time to focus on everyone within the Cedar community. 

“We’re going to continue to focus on supporting teachers in good instruction so that students are learning their best and can perform their best,” Carter said.