Out of the seven applicants for the Williamsburg Independent School Principal position education veteran Tim Melton was the consensus choice by the interview committee for the job.
During a press conference Tuesday morning in the school lobby, which was attended by about two-dozen people, including faculty, staff, board of education members, parents and students, Melton was introduced as the new principal.
“This is a real exciting day. This crowd is a testament to just the love this community has for this school and this district,” said Dr. Amon Couch, who is the current principal but will take over as superintendent on July 1.
“Tim is a proven school leader, who knows how to build partnerships both inside and outside of this building in order to provide our kids with the very best education. I have known him for about eight years and I have seen him become, in my opinion, one of the best principals in this region … He is truly one of the hardest working educators that I have ever had the privilege to get to work with.”
Melton said he is excited to be named the new Williamsburg principal.
“As I have been introduced to many community members over past two days, we have had informal discussions.
What I have discovered is there is a desire for excellence here that is what excites me,” Melton told the crowd.
Melton said that as principal, he would use that excitement to create context for improvement.
“I am about continuous improvement just like Dr. Couch said. Improvement begins with laser-like focus.
Everyone here today shows that and shows that there can be a difference and there can be success,” Melton said.
Melton said there are six elements that people will hear him speak about a lot starting with clear high standards.
“That goes from teachers to students to support staff all the way around,” he noted. “The second is fair assessments. We know what the state expects but we also know what we can do to prepare the students.”
The other elements include curriculum framework, effective instruction and safety nets to catch students, who need individualized intervention that allows them to be effective in the classroom.
“I am here to help students at Williamsburg Independent School to reach their potential and that is what I hope I can do here,” Melton added.
Melton said his conversations with Couch about what he is trying to build at Williamsburg were part of the reason he decided to pursue the Williamsburg Principal’s position.
“It goes back to the excellence that I talked about. Everybody that I have talked to the last few days, they have talked about Williamsburg and the excellence that they are after here,” he noted.
Couch said that the principal search was exhaustive and comprehensive lasting several weeks.
“Through the process, we put these candidates through a variety of different tasks, such as writing tasks, data analysis tasks and a 90-minute interview in addition to that. We put them through the mill,” Couch said.
Couch said that Melton’s experience was one of the biggest factors to put him over the top.
Melton, who has been in public education for over 20 years, most recently served as principal of Knox Central High School where under his leadership, the school moved from priority status to proficiency.
Melton has a Bachelor of Science, Masters Degree and Rank I in educational leadership from Union College. He has also attained credentials with the high prestigious National Institute for School Leaders (NISL).
In addition, Melton has completed credentials with AdvancED to conduct quality assurance reviews, advanced training with Integrated System Solutions, Co-Teaching for Gap Closure, Effective Learning Environments Observation Method, Cognitive Coaching Models and TeachScape.
Prior to serving as Knox Central Principal, Melton was the assistant principal at the school and began his administrative career as curriculum coach. He has a math background with teaching experiences in Bell County, Knox County and Tampa Bay, Florida.
He has coaching experiences that include time as a head baseball coach, assistant football coach and assistant girl’s basketball coach.
“Mr. Melton is a proven leader who knows what it takes to build strong culture and instructional excellence,” Couch said. “In my professional and personal opinion, Mr. Melton has the perfect mix of interpersonal and professional skills that we are looking for to take our district to the next level. He loves making connections with community stakeholders and understands that Williamsburg has a history of excellence and that our community wants the best for its school.”
Melton’s wife, Jennifer, teaches in the Knox County school system. They have four children, Tristan, T.J., Hannah and Hayden. The family attends Highland Park Baptist Church in Heidrick.
Melton said that his biggest challenge will probably be getting acclimated and learning what is happening.
“There is always room for improvement in education because education never stays the same. Learning from the start what I have to work with and then making sure that we offer the students the very best education they can get here in Williamsburg,” Melton said.
In moving from a county high school to a small independent school, Melton said his biggest adjustment would be getting used to primary through eighth grade.
“I talked about vertical alignment in my introduction. We have everything in one building. It might be upstairs or downstairs but the heart of it is it is in one building so the communication can be there,” Melton said.
Melton will assume his responsibilities as principal at Williamsburg on July 1, which is the same date that Couch will assume his new duties as superintendent.
Couch added that he thinks the school district’s best days are ahead of it.
“Whatever we do, we are going to do with excellence. We are going to do the very best we can in everything that we do,” Couch said.
Dr. John Jeffries, chairman of the Williamsburg Independent Board of Education, said he thinks Melton is a good hire.
“The screening committee voted unanimously for this guy so obviously they got their man,” Jeffries said.