Holley becomes principal at WAP; Duckworth to lead academics

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

It’s a mid-season line-up change, if sports analogies are appropriate. But to Scott Stapp, it was a change his school could ill afford to ignore.

Tracy Duckworth, who took over as principal of West Alabama Preparatory School at the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year, quickly found her niche in the private school education field.

“She’s done a tremendous job with academics,” Stapp said. “Our school received the Blue Ribbon [from the Alabama Independent School Association], and we’re now offering [advanced placement] courses.”

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Those AP courses, which allow high school students to take college-level courses, turned out to be much more than an accomplishment. They became a full-time job.

Last week, WAP announced to parents and patrons that John Holley — a retired educator familiar to many in Marengo County — will become the new principal at WAP. Duckworth will take on a vice principal role and will focus on academics, leaving Holley with the task of administering most other operations of the school.

“We want Tracy to focus her energy on keeping this school a Blue Ribbon school,” Stapp said. “At the same time, we’re very lucky to have Mr. Holley come on board to help us with the administration.”

Holley comes to WAP with 27 years of education experience. For more than a decade, he led Marengo Academy in Linden.

“He’s such a great addition to what we’re building,” said Stapp, chairman of the WAP board of directors. “He’s going to be a great compliment to the wonderful faculty we already have in place.”

Bringing Holley on board wasn’t exactly the easiest project for Stapp. Originally, Holley accepted the job and began work at WAP. After spending some time at the school, he felt Duckworth had Demopolis’ only private school in perfect working shape.

That may have been the case, but those closely associated with WAP — including Stapp — convinced Holley last week to add his experience to the improvements Duckworth had already made.

“It was such an opportunity to get counsel and leadership from him,” Stapp said. “It also puts Tracy in a position to devote more time to the high standards she’s already put in place.”

In a letter sent from Duckworth to parents and students of the school, the new vice principal said the addition of Holley signals another benchmark for WAP.

“I will be on campus and do everything in my power to assist Mr. Holley to take our school to the next level,” Duckworth wrote. “It has been a very challenging and exciting experience for me at West Alabama Prep. The Blue Ribbon status award and the advance placement approval has helped to make this experience worthwhile.”