Former assistant principal of Rehobeth High School Mike Linder recently ascended to the school’s chief position after his predecessor, Bobby Boyd, retired at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Houston County School Superintendent David Sewell said the principal position drew interest from around 40 applicants. He was part of a decision-making panel that interviewed 12 people, and ultimately selected Linder, a 20-year veteran of the school system.

The decision to hire Linder was easy, Sewell said, after the community – including teachers and parents – threw their support behind him.

“I, for one, liked him because he knows the people,” Sewell said. “He’s very dedicated to his job and a tremendous worker.”

The three-person panel appreciated the experience that Linder had gained at the school and his familiarity with the town – all while remaining energetic and continuing to offer new ideas for the direction of the school.

Though his promotion has earned him a new office with a new chair, he doesn’t plan on using it too much. Instead, he plans to continue an act he is renowned for – walking the halls, a simple yet mindful notion with powerful impact.

“It’s an important thing – just by being present. It keeps disciplinary problems down,” Linder said.

It’s also important for fostering a sense of community and understanding among students and faculty, something that is at the top of his mind as he kicks off next year.

“I feel like I’ve built a relationship with the students,” he said. “Walking the halls – there’s a time to be serious and there are times you can joke around with the kids and it doesn’t have to be so serious.”

He also has his sights set on improving academic achievement, by ensuring English and Math courses are taught year-round instead of each semester, while the system continues to use a block schedule.

Drawing from his experience as attendance supervisor, Linder said he plans to work closely with the juvenile court system and Judge Lori Ingram to curb truancy and chronic absenteeism.

He understands that there are problems that might require creative solutions, such as students vaping on campus and leaving the premises during the day, a problem that arose when many students began needing to leave campus for classes at the Houston County Career Academy.

“It’s a good thing, but it’s kind of difficult to know who’s supposed to be where,” he said, adding that he will continue to monitor areas of improvement and student behavior.

Linder acknowledged former Principal Boyd for his leadership and his trust, which he said prepared him for his new role. He is already busy hiring teachers and interviewing for an assistant principal.

“I’m just going to get in here and go, and focus on making the school a better place,” Linder said.

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