Renaissance principal James Reed retires

Principal James Reed at the senior picnic with picnic organizers Imani Smith, student council president (at left) and Emily Vinson, senior class president.

James Reed, Heights High Renaissance School principal, will retire after 27 years of service in the CH-UH City School District. A social studies teacher at Wiley Middle School for 11 years, he moved to the high school in 1999 to be a unit principal, responsible for a class of students as they progressed through the school. In 2003, he became a member of the Small Schools design team and was the founding principal of the Renaissance small school.

One of the guiding tenants of the small school model was an emphasis on strong relationships between students and staff as a basis for instruction and leadership. “One of the most rewarding aspects of working here has been getting to know students,” said Reed. “When I could spend the time to understand students, it made it easier to guide them.”

Reed said he has enjoyed working with the class of 2015: “This year’s seniors are special to me. They have had an impact on the school and I know they will have an impact on their community and country.”

Emily Vinson, senior class president, expressed her appreciation for Reed’s leadership of her class and the school. “I first met Mr. Reed when my eighth-grade class visited the school,” she said. “Little did I know that he would become someone who I could count on for advice, support and guidance when I arrived here.”

Leatrice Douglas, Renaissance teacher, worked with Reed for 24 years, and said, “Jim worked tirelessly to build a sense of family and cohesiveness in the Renaissance staff. As my administrator, he supported my work to be a creative teacher. His retirement is bittersweet for me. I am happy for him to have time to do the things that are special to him, but I am sad to see him go. I consider him my brother and my friend for life.”

Reed has not yet made plans for the next chapter of his life, but is looking forward to new opportunities.

“I have great confidence in the school and district leadership,” he said. “And I am very grateful to the parents and community for sending us their children. The families and students have made a positive impact on me.”

For the 2015–16 school year, Heights High students will attend school at the temporary Heights High on the Wiley campus in University Heights. The school’s leadership structure will comprise an administrative principal, Zoraba Ross, and four assistant principals: Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, Jane Simeri, Joe Nicklos, and one to be hired this summer.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:07 AM, 07.01.2015