Veteran principal named Decatur’s secondary ed director

Longtime City Schools Decatur principal Bruce Roaden, currently head of the 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue, has been named the system’s secondary education director. The position’s been vacant since Laurie McKain resigned last December, though Roaden told the AJC Friday the job had only been posted for two months.

Superintendent Phyllis Edwards also announced Friday that Karen Newton would replace Roaden and Rodney Thomas was named the 4/5 assistant principal. For Newton, it’s her first chance to run her own school.

Roaden sees his primary responsibility as mentoring, and for good reason. He’s now overseeing Decatur High and Renfroe Middle Schools, both beginning the school year with new principals. Beside those key changes within CSD, former DHS Principal Noel Maloof was named the system’s Chief Operating Officer earlier this month, and in March Edwards announced her resignation.

Roaden, 53, has been in education 31 years including 23 as a principal. He began with CSD in 2006 as Renfroe principal, spent 18 months as the system’s director of community relations, then opened the 4/5 Academy as principal in 2009. A native of Indianapolis, he has graduate and undergraduate degrees from Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) whose alums, he’s proud of pointing out, include David Letterman and “Papa John” Schnatter.

Edwards reorganized CSD’s central office two years ago, eliminating the associate superintendent position and created directorships for secondary education and elementary education (currently held by Mary Mack, another former CSD principal). Roaden realizes that structure could change when Edwards’ replacement is hired.

“No doubt I’m taking a risk,” he said. “But I believe risk taking is important. That’s what we want our kids to do.”