New principal to take post at Southwest next fall

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Roller: 'Leading by example is paramount'

Beginning next fall, Eric Roller, a Barry County native, will assume the position of high school principal for the Southwest school district.

Roller will be taking over Tosha Watson's position, who will replace Bob Walker as superintendent when Walker retires.

Roller grew up near Seligman and spent most of his school years at Southwest before attending high school in Wheaton, where his father was an agriculture instructor.

Roller followed in his father's footsteps, serving as agriculture education instructor and FFA Advisor in Wheaton for 11 years, and in the last year in the same capacity for the McDonald County High School in Anderson.

Roller attended two years at Crowder College, with a major in poultry science, before obtaining an undergraduate and master's degree, followed by specialized education for his field.

"I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas with a major in agricultural education and communication, and received my master's degree through William Woods in curriculum and instruction, which was followed by my specialist in educational administration through William Woods," he said.

Roller feels his strengths are especially in his ability to work with others and effectively communicate with people, and within a foundation of strong work ethic.

"I believe that leading by example is paramount in leading a building of students and professional colleagues," he said. "I feel that my experience in motivating students as an ag teacher, and managing many tasks all at once, will be critical in my role as building principal."

His goals as principal include continuing the foundation that Walker, Watson, faculty, staff and students have in place.

"The district has made great strides in recent years, as evidenced by being accredited with distinction," he said. "This is the result of an awesome team of administrators, teachers, staff and students. There is no need to come in and make immediate changes to what is already proving to be a success. I plan to continue making student success our primary mission, not only on test scores, but most importantly, equipping students with the skills that they need to be successful in life."

Roller said his approach to discipline is simple, and believes it starts in the classroom.

"As building principal, I will follow the policy set forth by the board of education and support our teachers in their quest to do so," he said. "Discipline is not only about correcting behaviors, but about developing discipline and understanding that for every choice a student makes there is a consequence, whether it be positive or negative. These are traits that must be instilled now in order for them to be a successful and contributing member of society. I believe that it must be swift, firm, decisive and consistent.

Roller has three sons, Houston, 9, Riley, 7 and Garrett, 5. He will officially begin his duties Aug. 1.

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