UWG Alum Named Georgia’s Principal of the Year

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals recently named Dr. Brian Ridley, University of West Georgia alumnus and Haralson County Middle School Principal, the 2013 Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year.

Ridley received three degrees from UWG. He graduated in 2001 with a master’s degree in music, and he also received a Doctorate of Education degree in 2006 and an Educational Specialist degree in 2011. Ridley will now represent the state in the competition for middle level National Principal of the Year, an honor currently held by UWG alumnae Dr. Laurie Barron. A UWG 1999 graduate, Barron received the Achievement Award for the College of Education at the 37th Annual Alumni Awards Gala on April 20, 2013.

Last year, Haralson County Middle School was named one of eight “2012 Breakout Schools” in the state, an award recognizing dramatic improvement in student achievement. Just a few years ago, HCMS was on the Department of Education’s “Needs Improvement” list, but under Ridley’s leadership and guidance, the school was transformed from an underperforming school to one determined to succeed.

"I am tremendously honored to have been named Georgia's Middle School Principal of the Year,” said Ridley. “It is a testament to the hard work of our faculty, students and parents. The best part of all of this is that people all over our state will get to see how awesome our kids are!"

“Dr. Ridley is a great example of what it means to be an excellent school leader,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. “The dramatic improvement in student achievement his school has seen is just one of his many accomplishments as a principal, but it gets to the heart of why we’re all in education – to help children accomplish their dreams through a quality education.”

Ridley’s accolades continue to grow. He was a 2012 finalist for the Parent To Parent of Georgia's Education Impact Award and has been featured as a keynote speaker at conferences sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia's Parent Mentor Partnership. He is a graduate of the Haralson County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Haralson project and the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement. He is currently the district director of the State Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals and is a liaison to the Georgia Music Educators Association.

“I am very proud of Dr. Ridley for the way in which he has worked collaboratively with his faculty, staff and students to move Haralson County Middle School in a positive direction regarding the school improvement process,” said Haralson County School System Superintendent Brett Stanton. “This recognition is a direct reflection on his dedication, determination and persistence in focusing on the best interest of students. In addition, this brings attention to the results of innovative and progressive ideas being implemented by quality employees throughout our school system.”

MetLife along with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals sponsor the Principal of the Year program in an effort to recognize principals who excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others and community service.

Dr. Ridley lives in Tallapoosa with his wife Carmi and their five children Josh, Jacob, Jada, Brendan and Raven.