Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 16, 2013

Returning to Boyd County, new principal was a 1982 graduate

Mike James
The Independent

CANNONSBURG — Dan Imes has felt like an outsider most of his career, working in school districts far from his native Boyd County.

Now he is the ultimate insider. Imes, a 1982 graduate of Boyd County High School, moved into the principal’s office last week. He has gone from having to explain to people where Boyd County is to knowing many of those he will be seeing at school — and their families, too.

“Going back to my high school turned out to be even more significant than I thought it would be,” Imes said Monday. “Once the reality hit that this was my high school and that I’ll be working with people I know, it was exciting.”

Imes has been in the neighboring Greenup County district for the past three years as principal of Wurtland Middle School, and for a couple of years before that he was an assistant principal in Carter County, but the preponderance of his career — 20 years — he spent in central Kentucky as band director at Campbellsville High School and principal at Lebanon Middle School.

Imes’ return to his alma mater brings him back for the first full year since BCHS moved from its aging plant off Ky. 180 to a sparkling new building on a plateau across the highway. Imes sees it as a chance to marry tradition with academic ambition.

“I think we can pick up the tradition and carry on further with a focus on academic excellence,” he said. “We have the advantage of the great resources in this building.

“The faculty members are a top-notch group of professionals and I’m very anxious to work with them.

“This is a state-of-the-art high school. It’s the first opportunity of my career to be in such a new building. There’s a certain pride in working in a building so many people have been waiting so many years for.”

Imes also feels a responsibility to use the new school’s assets for the greatest academic benefit. The district designed it to maximize performance in key academic areas, particularly in the vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM disciplines.

The STEM concept is not new to Imes, who earlier in his career received what he called “invaluable training” through the NASA Explorer program at Lebanon.

Academic pre-eminence is achievable at Boyd County, Imes believes. “My vision is for us to be leaders in the region, flat out. Knowing the excellence of other schools in the region, it’s a challenge, but it’s a very reachable goal.”

Strengthening Boyd County’s academic focus on college and career readiness calls for streamlining systems for peak efficiency, Imes said. That includes maximizing student time in class and ensuring use by teachers of latest and best practices.

“This has been so exciting, to come back to a school that gave me so much,” he said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.