Atkins to retire; DA has new focus

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2003

One of the greatest tools in Demopolis for industrial recruitment might be the educational system in the city. The flourishing of public schools in Demopolis has been well-documented, and a movement at the city’s only private school may serve as another perk to potential residents and businesses.

Thomas Bell, chairman of the board at Demopolis Academy, announced earlier this week that DA headmaster Sid Atkins has announced his retirement.

While DA will lose a devoted administrator in Atkins’ retirement, Bell and other members of the school’s board have used the announcement to put a renewed focus on the school.

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For starters, a potential new headmaster has already been identified, and Bell believes an announcement could be made in the next few days concerning who that person is.

For Demopolis Academy &045;&045; like any private school &045;&045; concern has risen over the number of students enrolled at the school. And in this time of transition, Bell said the school’s leadership has been successful in recruiting new students and parents into the academy.

So far, the school supporters have been successful in luring new students to DA. Bell also credits a renewed interest from other supporters for helping the school gain a new sense of life.

Two members of the Demopolis community have joined the school’s board of directors, and Bell said the interest of Scott Stapp and Webb Tutt has made a difference in the direction of the board.

Stapp and Tutt join Brenda Miller, Bill Baker, Jeff Couch, Donna Bozeman, Ronnie Jennings, Reid Ward and Bell on the board.

This renewed sense of focus Bell discussed earlier this week also will hone in on the schools academics &045;&045; especially in the higher grades.

Bell admits his surprise from people who don’t understand the academic classes offered at DA.

Along with a solid education and a "safe environment for students," Bell also said the board and administrators will work to better the athletic programs at the school.

When DA announces its new principal, the school also will announce its new football coach.

Tutt, who has a number of years of football coaching experience, will continue to serve as the school’s assistant football coach; Dereck Morrison will continue in his role as basketball coach; and Walker Reynolds will keep the helms as coach for a baseball program that has won 11 state championships.