Bath County High School’s New Principal, Sarah Rowe, Is Getting Settled Into Her New Job
Warm Springs, VA – Bath County High School’s new principal, Sarah Rowe, has been on the job about four months now and has experienced a smooth transition settling in. She’s a 1993 graduate of the school and came back to take the job after working in North Carolina and Roanoke.
“To me it was like walking into home,” says Rowe. “I mean the building hadn’t changed that much. I have a newfound appreciation for Mertz Technical Center. Because I think I underutilized that as a high schooler and those are some of the best teachers in my building.”
Rowe is a Bath County native. She’s a graduate of Mary Baldwin College and received her Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia. She taught in Charlotte, North Carolina for four years. She worked ten years in Roanoke, Virginia where she taught elementary school and middle school and began work in administration.
“The factors that probably were most influential on me taking this position, number one, family,” says Rowe. “My father is here, so that played a big role in it. Losing my mother several years ago, I didn’t want to miss any more moments with my dad. Plus I’d been in urban school districts and I kind of like to change things up. So being able to take a principalship in a rural area and also in a level that I hadn’t worked with before. I like a challenge.”
Rowe says she has a different mentality coming from an urban setting and she’s concerned with safety. She says things taken for granted here are not things she took for granted where she worked. Things such as locking car doors and exterior doors of a school. And she’s discovered some other differences here also.
“The thing that surprised me the most about these kids, in dealing with my urban setting, is the level of respect and manners that they have,” says Rowe. “Parents are doing something right here. They’re good kids. They’re really good kids. And they seem to be extremely bright. And pushing them to work harder than they currently do was something that I definitely wanted to have happen.”
Rowe has made some changes since she took the job. She believes that safety is the number one goal, so exterior doors are now locked and checked. Each morning, students now go to a centralized location. Rowe has also added a tardy bell to the school day and has revised the cell phone policy. And some changes at athletic events have also been implemented.
“Kids are kids,” says Rowe. “Change is hard sometimes. They’re transitioning slowly. At first my decisions weren’t popular. I didn’t expect them to be. Being a high school principal is not a popularity contest. As long as they’re safe, then I’ve done my job. And as long as they’re being educated, then I’ve done my job.”
Rowe says it’s been a wonderful transition and that it has helped her tremendously that the community has been very supportive.
“My dad, he grins from ear to ear,” says Rowe. “I’m his baby. So, I don’t think I could ever do anything to disappoint him. He’s proud and he tells me all the time, I’m proud of my baby girl.’ And nothing makes me happier than to make them proud.”
Rowe and her husband, Jason, are enjoying life in Bath County. They are living in Bacova and Jason is working as an aide at Valley Elementary School.