Cassville hires new assistant principal

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Carter: ‘I want to have a lasting difference’

A new school year brings new things, and Cassville High School’s 2018-2019 school year will bring Nathan Carter on board as the new assistant principal.


Carter will replace Keith Robertson, who will be moving into the role of principal, while Principal Jeff Swadley will be transferring into the intermediate school principal position.

Originally from Fort Scott, Kan., Carter currently teaches ninth grade science at Branson High School, where he has served in education for the last eight years.

A 2008 graduate of College of the Ozarks, Carter holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s in educational administration from Missouri State University.

“I was an agriculture major with an emphasis in horticulture, and then I went through a service called ABCTE, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, to get my teaching certificate,” Carter said.

Carter’s journey into education began when working in another field.

“I worked on a golf course a few years then got into education,”

he said. “I started as a paraprofessional with a behavior and emotional disorder teacher for a year, and for the past six years at the Branson High School in the science department. I currently teach in the ninth-grade center at the high school. It’s a unique road that’s led me to where I am.”

Carter said what drew him to education, and the role of an assistant principal, was the opportunity to make a lasting difference.

“When I worked on the golf course, we made the grass look really good, but we’re not having a lasting impact on people,” he said. “Getting into education and positively impacting people is very appealing, along with the leadership aspect within education. I’ve had mentors that have seen things in me and said, ‘I think you have a skill set and would be very good in administration, do you have any interests in that?’

“So, my interest and other people have helped me identify strengths within that area. I want to have a positive impact on people, and I feel administration gives me an opportunity to expand that influence.”

After learning about the position, Carter spoke with a colleague who had previously worked in the Cassville school district.

“David Large is our athletic director here, and I talked to him about his experience in Cassville and did some homework on the district, which was a positive one, and then I applied,” Carter said.

During the interview process, Carter’s qualities stood out.

“We had some great applications and I feel very fortunate to have the quality of applicants that we did, and I think that speaks very well of our district and reputation,” Robertson said. “He [Carter] was able to communicate to us his specific goals for a high school and success for students. And really, what it came down to was his skill set matched well with mine. It was a complement to our administrative staff and what I needed as an assistant principal and Doug Martin, our athletic director, would need, and that’s what put him above the others.

“Nathan’s wife, [Janelle], will also be working with us teaching reading intervention. They will be a great addition to our staff, school and community at large.”

Traditionally, the assistant principal handles student disciplinary actions, and Carter has a plan to carry out that role.

“I would follow the same procedures that are currently in place,” Carter said. “Coming in as a new assistant principal, I’m definitely going to rely on Keith’s perspective and experience, and Jeff Swadley’s, the people who have walked this road before.”

Carter also said about how he would handle school threats or rumors of threats from students, which administration has been dealing with since the school shooting in Florida.

“As far as general practice, we’re going to operate and base decisions on facts,” he said. “We know how a rumor mill can get going, but any time you make decisions, those decisions need to be evidence-based on facts that you have collected, and we’re also going to be as transparent with the community as possible about why those decisions were made.

“There are of course times when we cannot and will not be able to share everything, but will be as transparent as possible to continue to build trust with the community because our number one priority is the safety of every single student and not only at the high school, but the whole district.”

Challenges for administration arising from talk amongst students about threats and related rumors have not been exclusive to Cassville, Carter said.

“I think every school district has had instances and heightened awareness after the tragedy in Florida,” he said. “I can’t speak to the number, as I’m in the classroom in Branson, but I do know that every school district in the county has seen a heightened awareness and alertness after the tragedy.”

Carter said he is excited to start the position.

“We’re excited to make the move to Cassville to become a part of the community and the school, and we’re ready for August,” he said.

Carter’s salary has been set at $70,000.

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