Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 26, 2010

Hatcher principal Greene taking over Verity helm

Mike James

ASHLAND — Hatcher Principal David Greene won’t be out of a job when the elementary closes at the end of this school year.

He will take the helm at Verity Middle School, which principal Richard Oppenheimer is leaving for a central office post.

Verity will be getting a twofer when that happens: Hatcher counselor Kevin Smith is transferring to Verity, too.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to lead the middle school,” Greene said Wednesday. “Kids experience two vital transitions there, from elementary to middle school and then to high school.

“Also, early adolescence is very important to kids’ lives,” he said.

Greene, 36, moved to Hatcher eight years ago after teaching business at Paul Blazer High.

His tenure at Hatcher provided him a foundation of administrative experience, but just as important, he believes, he learned to work with people — parents, children and staff. “There’s no better way to learn that role than doing it,” he said.

Smith also moved from Blazer, where he was counselor, to Hatcher eight years ago. He and Greene have worked closely together on several innovative character-building programs at Hatcher.

They work from a mutual belief that children learn better in a caring environment where they are encouraged to show character, good manners and courtesy.

“David and I work well together ... I think of David as a teammate,” Smith said. “We complement each other’s styles.”

That makes Verity an ideal proving ground for some of the programs they built up at Hatcher, they believe.

“The kids there are in for a big treat,” Smith said.

Oppenheimer will be the district’s curriculum coordinator, taking over from Myra Robertson, who is retiring.

Hatcher is closing permanently as an elementary. District administrative offices will move there as will early childhood programs.

Greene said he would have been happy to remain as Hatcher’s principal but welcomes the change. “I’ve loved my time at Hatcher but I cherish the opportunity to lead the middle school.”