SNOW HILL — The Worcester County Board of Education (BoE) will be promoting from within this summer when Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) Principal Louis Taylor fills the vacancy left by retiring Assistant Superintendent for Administration Ed Barber.
Taylor will be leaving SDHS after 17 years as principal to take Barber’s seat within the Board of Education. According to Taylor, the decision was not an easy one.
“It’s tough to leave Stephen Decatur High School,” he admitted during a board meeting Tuesday.
Taylor began his education career in Worcester in 1984 as a physical education teacher at then Berlin Middle School (BMS), which is now Berlin Intermediate School (BIS). Barber was quick to support Taylor’s ascension and highlighted how being a local would help him in his new position.
“Lou Taylor is a born-here, from-here, serve-here,” said Barber. “Having lived in Worcester County for his entire life, he understands the needs of our schools and will continue to make decisions which benefit our students, parents, teachers, business leaders, and community members. The transition will be an easy one for our school system.”
As principal of SDHS, Taylor oversaw 161 employees as well as roughly 1,400 students. Though filling Barber’s shoes will mean managing even larger numbers, Taylor said that he is excited for the opportunity.
“I am committed to you … I’ve had a passion and love for this county that I will carry right to that seat,” he told the school board. “I look forward to this.”
Besides working in Worcester’s education system his entire career, Taylor is also a graduate, receiving his diploma from SDHS in 1978. For higher learning, he stayed in the area, only going one county over to study at Salisbury University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a Master’s in Education.
Besides acting as principal, Taylor also maintains strong ties to the community. He has served as chairmen of the Hudson Health Center and on the Board of Directors for the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and Atlantic General Hospital, where he serves as vice chair. In addition, Taylor currently sits on the Judicial Nominating Commission and has served on the Worcester County Board of Zoning Appeals and the Worcester County Local Management Board.
The combination of experience and local focus has drawn support from Taylor’s future colleagues on the Board of Education.
“Lou Taylor understands the role that our facilities and operations have on student learning,” said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. John Gaddis. “I look forward to working with him to sustain the excellence that we, as a county, have fostered together. By sustaining a tradition of putting our children first, we have ensured the prosperity of our county — a place where we all want to live, work, worship, raise and educate our children and play.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes, who like Barber will be retiring on June 30, also stood behind the board’s decision to incorporate Taylor.
“Lou Taylor is an exceptional educational leader who has devoted his entire adult-life to educating the youth of Worcester County,” said Andes. “He has had extensive experience in all areas which affect an educational system — from overseeing the renovation of his school, to managing finances, to overseeing facility operations at the largest high school on the Eastern Shore, to implementing new curriculum, to partnering with community leaders. His wealth of knowledge, coupled with his passion for doing what is best for children, will serve him well in this new leadership role.”
While Taylor was promoted from within the school system, Andes replacement has warranted a national search, which the board expects to conclude this spring.
Taylor took the endorsements in stride and promised to live up to the board’s expectations. Though he won’t officially take over until July 1, Taylor is already drafting priorities.
“I will continue to promote and support the renovation of Snow Hill High School (SHHS),” he said.
Last fall, construction on a new SHHS building was delayed when the County Commission determined that it would be difficult to fund at that time. The school will be eligible for approval again next October. Though the commission has promised to consider moving forward with construction in 2012, there’s no guarantee funding will be found this year either.
Taylor remains optimistic, however.
“It is time for Snow Hill to get a larger and fully-renovated facility, using the vision and plans already approved by stakeholders,” he said. “I will work with our school system leadership and County Commissioners to do my part in ensuring that this project moves forward.”