Thomasville community responds after Harper Principal reinstated

Harper Elem Principal Reinstated

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - The principal of Thomasville’s Harper Elementary School has been at the center of much discussion for the past month, after the former superintendent recommended not renewing his contract.

Tuesday, the school board voted to reinstate him.

The dozens of families WALB spoke with Thursday, are overjoyed that Harper Elementary Principal Melvin Hugans is reinstated as the school’s leader.

When news broke that he may no longer be principal for personnel reasons, many were left feeling confused.

“It kind of discouraged me at first," said Nita Mitchell, who has a grandchild at Harper.

Nita Mitchell, Thomasville resident (Source: WALB)
Nita Mitchell, Thomasville resident (Source: WALB)

She and others did their own investigation.

“We went around to see what he did to not be reinstated," said Mitchell.

She said they couldn’t uncover anything.

But, a 4-3 vote by the Thomasville city school board to keep Hugans shows some aren’t satisfied with the Harper principal.

Those who oppose didn't want to talk on camera.

Hugans didn't want to go on camera but did release a statement. He says in his statement that this experience revealed where he can grow personally and professionally.

“He’s doing a lot for our community, and our black kids and I am very happy and appreciative of that,” said Mitchell.

Brookwood Schools Headmaster Randy Watt said he admires Hugans’ hard work.

Watt told WALB, he and Hugans are intensely discussing a partnership for future projects. He’ll give more details in the coming months.

And this innovative thinking isn't a surprise to many.

“And I can’t stop stressing about Mr. Hugans because he’s been putting it down since he been over this way," said Demond Wilson, who has several grandchildren at Harper.

Demond Wilson, Thomasville resident (Source: WALB)
Demond Wilson, Thomasville resident (Source: WALB)

He loves how Hugans encourages the students to be better.

“They have a lot of opportunities here now that a lot of kids didn’t have a long time ago," said Wilson.

Hugans said he’ll continue their efforts to build strong bridges with every element of the community and every Harper stakeholder.

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