Last summer, an apprehensive Kendall Wood, senior class vice president at Boone High School, met with principal Dusty Johns and the rest of the senior class officers. The goal was to make sure the school’s beloved traditions didn’t get lost in new leadership.
“I didn’t like to wonder whether this person was going to be good for my school or not, but when I met him it was a really great experience,” Wood says.
Johns, who was previously the principal at Freedom Middle School, received a warm welcome from students and parents alike in his first year. Now that he’s in his second, he continues to uphold the many BHS customs, including the Senior Snake, which takes the drum line throughout the school before the seniors rush to the courtyard for a pep rally, while fulfilling his long-term goal of continuing the A-school’s propensity for excellence.
The students are Johns’ top priority and he engages them daily, letting them know that no problem is too big or too small. “I’ve come in very student-focused and with a lot of energy,” Johns says. “They know I’m always accessible.”
Johns feels that as long as his students are working hard and doing the right things, they should be rewarded. He says he wants BHS to be a fun place to learn.
Since he arrived at BHS, Johns has been moving forward with a renovation project called Revive the Tribe. The endeavor’s focus is to renovate several areas of the school’s athletic complex, including returfing the football field, getting a rubberized track, adding lights to the baseball field, getting a new digital scoreboard and updating the restroom and concession stands by the next school year.
“I think that will really change the face of Boone from a structural standpoint,” Johns says.
The fundraising goal for the facelift is $1.3 million. Sixty percent has already been secured by corporate sponsors such as McCoy Federal Credit Union and Bags Inc., as well as the Boone High School Athletics Association. The remaining funds will come from a grassroots campaign in which donations will go toward a brick paver entrance with contributors’ names on the bricks—different donation levels will go toward corresponding brick sizes.
Johns, a UCF alumnus and long-time community member, attributes his success to his parents teaching him how to work hard and treat people right. He also feels a special tie to the school because he lives close by and his kids will be attending Boone.
“When you see quality leadership it’s very rare and appreciated,” Wood said of Johns. “You just kind of know it when you see it.”
At the end of her senior year, Wood, who now attends Baylor University, wrote Johns a two-page letter of encouragement, thanking him for all he has done and will continue to do for Boone.
For more information about how to sponsor a brick and help the school with this initiative, go to www.ReviveTheTribe.org.