Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Man in Middle Takes Charge

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Man in Middle Takes Charge

Article excerpt

Mandarin Middle School's new principal is taking charge, and

teachers and parents say they're impressed.

"He's going to spark a fire under Mandarin Middle," Susie

Marshall, Mandarin Middle's assistant principal for community

education, said of Michael Kemp. "It's nice to have some young,

new blood."

Kemp, 31, who replaced Walter Carr, Mandarin Middle's principal

for eight years, says he will emphasize respect, restraint and

responsibility, an effective philosophy he's learned from other

principals for whom he's worked. Carr is now principal at

Forrest High School.

Kemp said he's thrilled to be leading the school into an era of

a traditional calendar, with all students and teachers on the

same schedule.

Kemp said he believes in holding students and teachers

accountable. Already, he's signed off on a stricter dress code

that requires students to tuck in shirts and ditch the oversized

pants, blue hair and sunglasses.

Teacher attire must also be professional, Kemp said. "We need

to walk the talk."

Students need to be prepared for the job market, he said, and

there's a positive correlation between the way students dress

and the way they behave.

"School is not hanging out at the mall," Kemp said.

The code was developed by a committee of parents, students, PTA

members, teachers, school advisory council members and

administrators. Though it required Chris Buckley to shop for

some appropriate clothing for her son, she said she likes the

idea.

Other parents said they were for it as well.

"I hate those saggy, baggy clothes," said parent Donna Smith.

"I support anyone who tells the kids to pull their pants up so

their underwear doesn't show."

Though some parents have noted that tucking shirts in is a

concern for self-conscious maturing girls and overweight

students, most response has been positive, school officials

said.

Kemp said he has high expectations for teachers. …

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