BY ANDREAS BUTLER
When school reopens after the holiday break, there will be a new principal at Campbell Middle in Daytona Beach.
Dr. Jerry L. Picott takes over the school located at 625 South Keech St., which is in the heart of the Black community.
“For me it’s like being in the military and coming back home. It is family here for me. I have my roots in education here at Campbell. This is the place that made me the educator that I am today,” Picott told the Daytona Times.
Goal: Academic success
Picott comes to Campbell after serving as principal of Alternative Education for Volusia County Schools, where he oversaw eight different sites.
“For me my tenure in alternative education was uplifting. My primary goal was to inspire the students and show them that how to get back on track and that they could recover and achieve. They must learn how to be accountable to become successful in school,’’ he explained.
Leading Campbell to academic success is the goal.
“My ultimate goal is to ensure student achievement. These are all of our kids. They are in our community. They all are our responsibility. I don’t believe in classifying kids. I take full responsibility to make sure that the kids have what they need to be successful in the classroom,’’ he expressed.
Picott is up for the challenges ahead.
“I must make sure we can ensure that students have the help, support and guidance that they need to be successful. This calls for the support of our community, business partners, churches, organizations and most importantly the parents. This is a community project,” commented Picott.
Need help, support
Picott is aware of obstacles that many Black children face in schools. Campbell is a predominantly African-American school.
“I am very humbled that Volusia County has trusted me with the responsibility to restore the academic standards at Campbell Middle School. We must ensure our kids learn,’’ Picott stated.
“We just need help and support from our community with the challenges that we face. It’s twofold with our kids. One is academic concerns and the other is social concerns. I plan on using what we already have in place and expanding on that to help make a difference.”
Campbell received a failing overall grade from state testing last year. The school also had more than 200 students transfer to other schools before the academic year.
“We must bring up test scores. It will be intense, but we have a plan of action in place,” Picott remarked.
“We can do this by ensuring that the instruction is geared around the standards that are directly aligned to the state testing requirements, align programs to provide additional remediation interventions and accommodations for struggling students mostly through technology and ensure that we have a consistently safe and orderly campus,” Picott added.
He believes in the staff that he has in place.
“We have quality professionals here that absolutely have the ability, knowledge and experience to get the job done,” stated Picott.
Picott follows in a great tradition of principals like Earl McCrary, Stan Whitted and Vicky Pressley that came before him.
Campbell has two programs in place in its Night Alive and Principal Pearls programs, which Picot plans to enhance to better assist children.
Night Alive helps with support, activities, food, programs and mentoring while Principal Pearls helps with support and entering of young women.
Picott said, “I plan on providing more assistance with tutoring and mentoring and well as adding our remediation to that program with these two programs.”
Picott has an extensive resume in education.
He served as an assistant principal at both Campbell and Mainland High; principal intern at Ormond Middle, Ormond Elementary and Champion Elementary as well as assistant principal at Creekside Middle in Port Orange.
Picott also was a band director at Mainland and Holly Hill Middle.
He has worked as assistant director of dormitory facilities at Bethune-Cookman University and an adjunct instructor in Education Leadership and Beginning Teaching at Daytona State College.
Picott came to Daytona via Smithville, Virginia after receiving an academic and band scholarship to Bethune-Cookman. He received his bachelor’s degree in music.
Picott received his master’s and doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
At Bethune-Cookman, he was a member of the Marching Wildcats band. He also played the trumpet and was section leader his last two years at the school.
He’s also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.