Bearden welcomes Long, Balcom to administrative team


Mr. Spencer Long (far left) and Mr. Donald Balcom (second from right) have joined Bearden’s administration for the 2018-19 school year.

Abby Ann Ramsey, Entertainment Editor

Bearden has undergone significant changes in its administrative team this year, adding a few new faces, as well as moving some staff members into new positions.

To take the position of junior class principal, Bearden hired Mr. Spencer Long, a former administrator at Karns High School. Before teaching, he was unsure of what career path to take and struggled to find a job that suited him.

Mr. Long soon discovered his passion for teaching and hopes to help Bearden students do the same in whatever career field that may be.

“Teaching or being a school administrator for me is a passion because it allows me to help students find a direction for their life before I ever found a direction for my life,” Mr. Long said.

Mr. Long’s past positions have ranged from teaching AP and CP courses and eventually stepping into an administrative role at Karns. He hopes this diverse experience has helped prepare him to take on this role at Bearden.

In addition to bringing in a new assistant principal, four of the existing Bearden administrators have changed positions.

Mrs. Cassandra Dowd is starting her sixth year at Bearden and is transitioning from 9th grade assistant principal to 10th grade. Her responsibilities have changed greatly, as managing freshmen is very different from her new role, but despite the challenges, she is hopeful for what the new year, people, and changes will bring.

“I think that having some fresh perspective can help us regain our focus a bit,” Mrs. Dowd said.

Taking the 9th grade administrative spot is Mrs. Amanda Edsell, who previously served as 11th grade principal. Last year was her first year in an administrative role, but she said it helped better prepare her for the change this year brings.

“Leadership is a continuous journey,” she said. “Each step has strengthened and challenged me. Last year was a whirlwind of newness, and I learned the importance of patience and transparency.”

Mrs. Edsell believes that many of the challenges of the new administrative team have already been solved in the weeks leading up to school. She thinks fresh faces will bring positivity in the learning environment and overall benefit Bearden High School.

“Bearden is such an amazing school, but every institution has pockets of average,” Mrs. Edsell said. “A newly structured administrative team will be able to address the areas of average through a new lens.”

Moving up to an administrative role is Mr. Donald Balcom, who was previously a social studies teacher. This year, he tackles the position of athletics director.

Mr. Balcom truly loves Bearden and his relationships with students. He hopes that this position will help him further those relationships, while giving him more responsibility.

“I love kids, and I love working with young people,” he said. “I know it probably sounds cheesy, but I want to change people’s lives.”

He hopes that this year’s changes in administration will bring about even more of a focus on academics. This administrative team’s goal will be to encourage students to take a rigorous curriculum and push themselves to be the best they can, but not to put extreme pressure and stress on the backs of students.

Each of these administrators has his or her individual responsibilities, but many of these overlap with each other to create a cohesive, collaborative team. For example, Mrs. Dowd and Mr. Long will work together on topics such as testing, while Mr. Balcom will also assist Mrs. Dowd in 10th grade discipline. Together, these administrators, as well as Mr. Rod Crockett who remains as 12th grade principal, will focus on everything from academics to the environment of the school.

All of the assistant principals have a passion for education and student relationships that is reflected in the way they communicate with each other and the student body. They love Bearden and hope that this year’s administration will change Bearden for the better.

“People here truly care about each other, they love each other, and once again that includes the faculty the staff and the students,” Mr. Balcom said. “It’s just a really good family culture here.”

For more information on new principal Mr. Jason Myers, click here.