It was her immediate thought when Kate Collis heard she would be the new Carlos E. Haile Middle School principal.
“I have come home,” said the 40-year-old Collis. “My mind is still reeling about the excitement of it all.”
On June 3, the former Haile Middle assistant principal (2013-2016) was hired to replace Sharon Scarbrough, who took over as the principal at Braden River High School.
Collis was transferred from Haile last school year to be an assistant principal at Martha B. King Middle School. When she heard about the search for a principal at Haile, she applied immediately.
“I am excited to come home to that standard of excellence and to a place where students are seeking engagement,” Collis said. “The wonderful thing about Haile is that it has a long track record of excellence, so it’s not like I’m going in there having to fix things. I have to maintain that record, which is ideal.”
Collis has spent most of her career in education working at middle schools. Janet Kerley, Haile Middle’s principal from 2002 through 2014, said it’s a perfect fit. Kerley hired Collis in 2013 and has been somewhat of a mentor to Collis.
“She has a heart for middle school kids, and that became evident when I worked with her,” Kerley said. “I think she is the perfect combination of skill sets that will be right for Haile.”
Collis said she is well equipped for the job.
Her daughter, Jordyn, was a student at Haile while Collis worked as an assistant principal. Jordyn now attends Braden River High School.
“I’ve seen Haile as both a parent and administrator,” Collis said. “I know, as a parent, the expectations I have for my child and that I have of my teachers. It gives me an insight because I know as a parent what I want from the school.”
Collis said she fell in love with the idea of being a teacher as a second-grader. During her time teaching social studies at Booker Middle School (2004-2012), she switched to administration.
“Once I started taking administrative classes, I began to see where I could make a difference on a larger scale,” Collis said. “In a classroom, you can only really do that with maybe 200 kids. As an administrator, you have a whole school of kids to work with.”
Her first official day of work as principal will be July 1. She has high hopes for her new job, and plans on staying as long as they let her, she said.