THOMASVILLE — At a called meeting Friday, the Thomasville City School Board approved a position change for Dr. Tom McCall, principal of Thomasville High School. Effective July 1, McCall will serve as data and assessment coordinator for the entire system.

In a statement to the Times-Enterprise, Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett said the position change will allow the school system to make good use of data in planning instruction.

“It has become obvious that the system needs someone to serve in a role to gather, collect and analyze data to assist principals and other instructional personnel in instructional planning and improvement,” Everett said. “We are pleased to have someone in our system with the background and skills needed to fill this role.”

Everett praised McCall’s work as principal of Thomasville High School.

“During his tenure as principal, the school has been recognized as first in the region for SAT scores, and the passing rate on the state writing assessment has shown dramatic improvement,” she said. “We thank Dr. McCall for his contributions to Thomasville High School and look forward to the contributions that he will make to our system in his new position.”

Board member Donnell Carley made a motion to approve the superintendent’s personnel recommendation, which included McCall’s position change. The board voted in favor of the motion with the exception of board members Rick Ivey, who voted no, and George Lilly, who abstained.

“I have a real concern with us adding an additional layer of administration at a time when budgets are tight,” Ivey said after Friday’s meeting. “We are about to come under additional pressure with the passage of the 65-percent classroom expenditure bill.”

McCall was named principal at Thomasville High in 2004 after serving as assistant principal and vocational director at the school. Prior to joining the THS staff in 1994, he worked at the University of Florida, developing instructional materials for the Florida Department of Education.

As data and assessment coordinator, McCall will be responsible for testing programs, student records and data management in grades kindergarten through 12. McCall will also be involved in the development of benchmark assessments in grades K through eighth, and assisting those principals in monitoring the implementation of the Learning-Focused Schools exemplary practices model.

“I’m excited about it,” McCall said about the position change. “I know a lot of people, when they look at crunching numbers and trying to pull out information, that sounds kind of boring to them. But that interests me, and I like doing that.”

McCall said more and more school systems are using data analysis to improve student performance.

“They are looking at data and breaking it down in minute pieces to really see what is working, what is not working and what they need to do to improve,” he said.

Gone are the days when principals could simply tell their staff to “do better” or “teach better”, McCall said.

“That’s not enough to make AYP and fulfill the requirements of No Child Left Behind, and also to serve the students as best we can,” he said. “I appreciate Mrs. Everett giving me the opportunity to do this. I’ve been in this building for 12 years, and I’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears at Thomasville High School, but I’m glad to get the chance to serve all the schools in the city school system.

“’m looking forward to it.”

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