SIBLEY — Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School has named a new principal after the departure of former principal Johnny Rowland.
Denny Finley officially took the helm Monday morning under the guidance of acting principal Michelle Finley. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls says to avoid the issue of nepotism, Michelle Finley will be moved to another position outside of Lakeside.
“She will be assigned to another position somewhere else,” he said. “We’ve got a position lined up; we just haven’t executed it yet. We just appointed him (Thursday).”
Denny Finley says his wife will stay at Lakeside for one week and then be moved to the other position.
“We knew going into the whole process that one of us would have to leave,” he said, adding both he and his wife applied for the principal’s position.
“That’s why we both applied for the job,” he said. “We just knew that the good Lord would take care of us and send us in the right direction. She’s an excellent administrator, and I think they have bigger plans for her one day.”
He says she’s done an excellent job as acting principal and has kept everything organized. So while he will be learning “on the fly,” he says, her organization will help him get a good head start.
He says Lakeside is his home, and he told board members during the interview process that Lakeside is where he wants to be.
“This is my 15th year at Lakeside, and 18 and a half years in education,” he said. “I live in the community, and I have one child here and one child that will be here in the future. I’ve just always wanted to be at Lakeside. It’s home to me.”
He says Lakeside is a great school and the faculty is the best a principal could ask for.
“They’re super, and I’m not going to be in a rush to change anything,” he said. “Obviously, things change, but I definitely want to see things get better each and every year.”
Finley taught history and coached baseball and junior high football. He says Coach Will Gray will continue to lead the baseball team as head coach, but an assistant will be named in the near future to join the coaching staff. A substitute teacher has taken the helm in the classroom until his former position can be filled, he said.
Finley graduated from LaSalle High School in 1992 and attended Northeast Louisiana University, graduating in 1997 with a degree in social studies and physical education.
His teaching career began in Webster Parish at Sarepta High School in the spring of 1998, moving to Lakeside to teach in 2001.
He graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2013 with his master’s degree in education leadership.
“My goal is to mainly always support my staff and be by their side,” he said. “I don’t plan to ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. I think if you treat them right, they’ll get in the classroom and work hard.”
He says he will miss teaching, because he’s always enjoyed working with the kids.
“It was hard for me to decide to leave the classroom, because I’ve always loved being a teacher,” he said.