Last week’s news that Garner Magnet High principal Drew Cook was being promoted to a position within the school system’s central office was a blow to folks in Garner.
Cook has been an asset to this school and the entire community.
While we are certainly happy for Cook’s opportunity for professional advancment, we’d be less than honest if we didn’t admit there’s a more than just a little trepidation at the thought that he won’t be a regular face on campus any more.
Cook, who grew up and went to school here, has taken a school that was struggling and turned it into a crown jewel for the entire community. People are proud of their high school for many reasons from the athletic prowess of its student athletes to the academic rigor of its International Baccalaureate program. That’s the kind of legacy any leader would like to leave behind.
Inreased expectations and a sincere effort on Cook’s part to spread decision-making responsibilities across the entire school have generated buy-in from both teachers and students.
Test scores have gone up as a result and Cook’s profile has risen, even to the point of being named Wake County’s top principal just a few years ago.
Cook will do well in his new post, we feel sure. The challenge for school system leaders now is to find someone as energetic, as expectant and as invested as Cook has been during his tenure at Garner High.
That’s a tall order to fill. We hope that, as county administrators begin the process of selecting Cook’s replacement they will seek to replicate as many of these qualities in his successor as they can. And, we believe it’s imperative that the community play a role in this process to ensure that the school’s new principal enjoys the unqualified support Cook has earned during his tenure.