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Barlow named interim principal at DMS

Booker Barlow, the interim principal for Demopolis Middle School, talks with assistant principal Justin Pate.

After nearly four decades in the city school system, Booker Barlow will finally have the chance to lead one of its school.

Barlow will replace Clarence Jackson as principal at Demopolis Middle School effective immediately. Jackson accepted the principal’s position at Southside Selma High earlier this month.

“I look forward to the challenge,” said Barlow, who has served as assistant principal at Demopolis High School for the past 17 years. “I’ve never been in charge of a school. I’ve never been the main man, but there are a lot of good teachers and faculty in place at the school and they will be a big help to me.”

Barlow’s chance to lead the middle school comes exactly 40 years after he originally joined the Demopolis system, but he said it was an opportunity he thought may never come.

“I had planned on retiring in December,” he laughed. “I planned on retiring last December, too. With Dr. (Neil) Hyche coming on to help out at superintendent and (Leon) Clark being new at the high school, I felt like I needed to be around since there was already so much change going on.”

Barlow said his desire to help is what led him to accept the appointment at the middle school and postpone his pending retirement at least another year.

“I’ve spent the better part of two-thirds of my life with the kids in Demopolis,” he said. “I’ll do anything I can to help the kids.”

Barlow will serve as interim principal at DMS through this academic year and said he expects to hand the reigns over to a full-time principal next summer.

“It would be hard to find a good principal right now, this late in the summer and right before school starts,” said Barlow, who served as a math teacher before joining the ranks of administration. “This gives the school system time to find the best long-term fit for the school next year.”