Another change in leadership for DSA
BY CORMAC BAXTER
PHOTO CREDIT: CORMAC BAXTER
Dr. Tobias stands in front of Weaver Auditorium during the start of her third week at Durham School of the Arts. Walkie-talkie in hand, Dr. Tobias is constantly on the job.
Once again, Durham School of the Arts had a change in administration; the second time in the 2021-2022 school year.
The change comes as Dr. Jackie L Tobias, former principal at City of Medicine Academy, takes on the role as Durham School of the Arts’ new principal- and Mr. Jim Key steps down as the interim principal. Parents want the best education for their children, and part of a good education is good leadership.
“I have been at CMA for almost 9 years and through COVID I was challenged to reflect on my personal and professional choices. I know it sounds strange but I am called to be an educator. I loved being at CMA, there was no reason for me to leave, but I felt challenged and honestly called to apply for this job. I saw all the negative press and felt that I should apply because possibly I could make a difference. I have always admired DSA from afar, I think I have an artistic ‘soul,’ and the timing was right for me to leave CMA so I applied for the job to be principal,” Dr. Tobias said.
Dr. Tobias was named 2020 Durham Public Schools Principal of the Year during her time at City of Medicine Academy. Students and parents can be assured that Tobias’ awarded work will carry through to DSA.
“Dr. Tobias has extremely high standards for her school. She preaches rigor and perseverance. This demand is not only for her school, however, it is a demand she has placed on herself as well. Dr. Tobias does not expect from anyone what she has not expected for herself. She is continuously searching for ways she can become an even better leader, better mentor, better learner. She realizes that there is always room for improvement so she never sits idle. As a result, teachers become highly qualified in their methods of instruction and students grow and reach proficiency in their content knowledge. Over the years, this has definitely been a factor in the high level of respect she has received throughout the district and beyond,” Renita Griffin Jordan, former assistant principal and current principal at CMA, explained.
Dr. Tobias isn’t just another principal. On top of her awards and achievements, she takes on the role of DSA’s principal with a unique world-view.
“I am not that different from other principals. I do feel that I am a little older, and I have been in education long enough that I know how to run a school successfully. But I am also innovative and creative. I am a 21st century thinker and I am very open to student and staff ideas to make us better. Mr. Hawks and I were colleagues, but I cannot speak to his leadership. While I hate to defer to gender, I think women do have a different view than men, and I am a black woman, who is an immigrant, so my world view in general is different, and this affects how I lead,” Dr. Tobias stated.
Faculty and staff can expect for Dr. Tobias to facilitate a family-like environment. She was known to do that at CMA, especially through the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, so we can be assured she will bring that with her to DSA.
“Dr. Tobias nurtured the staff through the difficulties and uncertainties of the pandemic and assured them that she and the school community as a whole would be supportive and accommodating.” Griffin Jordan said.
Parents can feel confident in Dr. Tobias’ plans for the DSA community. She is wholly dedicated to leading every single student to their fullest potential. To her, no student is left behind.
“With Dr. Tobias, everyone who was there to support student success was on the team; and anyone with even the slight desire to lead had the opportunity to be on the starting lineup. She believed that everyone on campus has a role in preparing our youth for a promising future. This will absolutely be of benefit to DSA, as staff will have that opportunity to lead and grow, and students will have more support, from more areas, than ever,” Griffin Jordan concluded.