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DA changes name to West Alabama Prep; hires Duckworth as principal

If a name change is all that mattered, the school formerly known as Demopolis Academy would have an easy time with it. At a board or directors meeting earlier this week, the school on Mauvilla Drive officially changed its name to West Alabama Preparatory School.

And the General has been replaced with "a person of colossal size, strength or achievement." Beginning with the 2003-2004 school year, the West Alabama Prep Titans will devote themselves to becoming a better academic school under the guidance of a new principal.

Tracy Duckworth, who has served as a science professor at the University of West Alabama for 11 years, has accepted the job of principal at West Alabama Prep.

In a letter sent to the faculty and staff at WAP, Bell said Duckworth has the "dedication, determination and vitality to do an excellent job of leading us in a quality education for our students."

Duckworth, who admits the task of changing to scope of an entire school will feel overwhelming at times, said she’s excited about the new opportunity and will work hard to change the perception of her school.

Though the list of changes Duckworth wants to make could span pages, she plans to improve every academic category. And in order to do that, she said teachers, parents and even students will play the largest roles.

Obviously, Duckworth believes the current text used at the schools will need to be "scrutinized," and she wants to adopt some of the successful academic programs – like the Alabama Reading Initiative – being used around the state.

Duckworth, who taught at Demopolis Academy for one year, believe one of her most important missions as a high school principal will be to prepare students for the next level of education. And though that process starts in elementary and junior high school, she plans to introduce her high school students to more activities that will prepare them for college.

Duckworth also plans to separate the high school students from the junior high students.

Though Duckworth has a laundry list of programs she wants to accomplish at the school, Bell believes West Alabama Prep has an excellent opportunity to become more than just a Demopolis school.

Carolyn Bell will become assistant principal at the school and she said academic classes will provide students from all over the region with an opportunity to prepare better for college.

Among the other changes being made at West Alabama Prep is the football coach. Webb Tutt, who has served as an assistant football coach in the past, will now lead the Titans as the volunteer head coach. Tutt recently also became a member of the WAP board of directors.

Dereck Morrison will remain the school’s basketball coach, and Walker Reynolds will serve as the baseball coach. Ronnie Jennings will continue to volunteer as a coach at the school, and Lynda Martin is going to serve as an assistant softball coach for the Lady Titans.