New Hayden schools leader praised

Boss in Tennessee says future superintendent has strong communication skills

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— In Greg Rockhold, the Hayden School District will get a superintendent with strong communication skills and an eye for the big picture, Rockhold's current boss said.

Rick Kriesky is the director of schools for the Henry County School System in Tennessee. The district is home to E.W. Grove School, a ninth-grade campus in Paris, Tenn., where Rockhold serves as principal.

"He doesn't get mired down in small details," Kriesky said. "He will allow people responsibility, delegate responsibility and allow people to do their jobs without micromanaging."

Rockhold is finishing his second year in the district, which Kriesky said he has led for seven years. Kriesky said Rockhold is skilled at motivating others and keeps up on advancements in his field. He referred to the principal as "a student of modern trends in public education."

The Hayden School Board chose Rockhold last month for the top spot in the 450-student district. His two-year contract starts in July, and he'll make $82,000 a year, School Board President Brian Hoza said last month.

Kriesky said he is confident Rockhold will succeed, though he said the move from principal to superintendent could be tough.

"He will have to look at a much bigger picture," Kriesky said. "It's not a challenge for him more than anyone else. But it's always a challenge to have to consider K-12 - not only the instruction of K-12, but the funding and all those issues."

Rockhold said last month that he enjoyed the sense of community in rural districts such as Hayden.

Hoza said those challenges could include finances.

"There are challenges in managing a district that is smaller and has limited resources," he said, "but most aspects of the district are in a strong state right now."

Hoza said the Hayden district would give Rockhold the opportunity to work closely with the community and businesses, which he saw as a strength of Rockhold's. Kriesky said Rockhold communicated well with students as well as administrators and staff members.

"I think he's able to convey his ideas and thoughts to students in a way that they can understand," Kriesky said. "I think that's not as common as we think."

Rockhold, who comes across as mild-mannered and almost reserved on the phone, said he and his wife are putting their house on the market and preparing to move this summer.

Although jobs in education administration can be tough, Rockhold said he doesn't let stress get to him.

"I don't let things build up," he said. "You take things for what they are, and you continue to focus on the kids. As far as de-stressing, I don't allow myself to get stressed in the first place."

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