Confetti flew from floor to ceiling at the Haralson County Middle School gym last week when the superintendent announced Principal Brian Ridley as the Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year. Ridley was presented with the prestigious honor by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.
After spending several years on the Department of Education’s “Needs Improvement” list, Haralson County Middle School (HCMS) recently received recognition as one of only eight “2012 Breakout Schools” in the state awarded for dramatically improving student achievement. After a short four years at HCMS, Dr. Ridley successfully transitioned the underperforming school to one determined to break out of the status quo, but is quick to reflect praise and credit to the dedication of the teachers, administrators and students of HCMS.
“I am tremendously honored to have been named Georgia’s Middle School Principal of the Year,” said Ridley. “It is a testament to the hard work of our faculty, students and parents. The best part of all of this is that people all over our state will get to see how awesome our kids are!”
Dr. Ridley was a 2012 finalist for the Parent To Parent of Georgia’s Education Impact Award and has been featured as a keynote speaker at conferences sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia’s Parent Mentor Partnership. He is a graduate of the Haralson County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Haralson project and the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement. He currently serves as a member of the State Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) as a district director and liaison to the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA).
“I am very proud of Dr. Ridley for the way in which he has worked collaboratively with his faculty, staff and students to move Haralson County Middle School in a positive direction regarding the school improvement process,” said Haralson County Schools Superintendent Brett Stanton. “This recognition is a direct reflection on his dedication, determination and persistence in focusing on the best interest of students. In addition, this brings attention to the results of innovative and progressive ideas being implemented by quality employees throughout our school system.”
Ridley is a Tallapoosa native and, prior to his position at Haralson County Middle, served as principal at West Haralson Elementary School and as assistant principal at HCMS. A 1989 graduate of Haralson County High School, he received his Bachelor of Music degree from Berry College in 1993 and his Master of Music degree in Tuba Performance from the State University of West Georgia in 2001. He received his Educational Specialist degree in Leadership and Educational Doctorate in School Improvement from the University of West Georgia.
Before entering the administrative field, Dr. Ridley spent eight years teaching instrumental music as a high school band director. As an accomplished composer, Ridley’s original musical works for wind band and orchestra are distributed internationally through C. Alan Publications and performed by many high school, college and professional ensembles.
Dr. Ridley lives in Tallapoosa with his wife, Carmi, and their five children Josh, Jacob, Jada, Brendan and Raven.
The Principal of the Year recognition program is sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Ridley will represent Georgia in the competition for National Principal of the Year. The Principal of the Year program recognizes principals that excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service.