the man who would be king


On Tuesday, August 26th Dennis Queen will arise early to begin a new chapter in his life. Not a new book, but a new chapter. He will become the principal of a high school. This is a day he never foresaw as a North Carolina college student some thirty years ago.

What has led up to this point in Queen’s life?

As principal of Kingsview Middle School, he quickly became know for his ability to increase student performance while at the same time lowering suspensions. He opened the school doors to parents, bribing them with coffee and hot chocolate. He knew that without parental involvement, he would be lost. And so would some kids.

Dennis Queen, Seneca Valley High School

Dennis Queen

Some parents seem to be opposed to big changes at the hands of a new principal. They want business as usual for their child who is already attending Seneca Valley. So Queen has promised to go easy.

Dennis G. Queen grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina , near (Charlotte). He attended Southern Wesleyan University, a Christian college in South Carolina, and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor’s degree.

Queen consistently notes that he worked his way through college. Not slinging burgers, but slinging a handgun. Queen worked as a police officer in both Liberty, South Carolina and Central, South Carolina.

Majoring in psychology and phys ed, Queen obtained a position as a social worker, investigating child abuse. These two careers, cop and social worker, would serve as a metaphor for the two sides of Queen the principal.

In 1985, Queen was hired as a PE teacher back in his hometown of Gastonia. He ultimately taught economics, government, and history for eight years, then took on the role of assistant principal for six years. This was followed by a stint as principal for four years at Hill Middle School, a magnet school in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In 1993 Queen obtained a M. Ed. in Educational Administration from the UNC at Charlotte.

This was undoubtedly good practice for the rigors of Montgomery County.

Queen thinks about his upcoming experience working with high school students. “I truly look forward to working with older students after 23 years of Middle School. The same expectations for academic performance, behavior, and engagement apply and can be successful for the senior high student.”

Queen may be able to blend together all his talents and experiences to make an effective senior high principal. At a recent meeting with parents, he commented, “I have a law enforcement background and I have a social service background, so I also believe in compassion. I have a pretty good handle on when to put which hat on,” he said.

The way Queen talks about himself, it would seem that he only has compassion for kids because he was once a social worker. It just might be that Queen had a feeling for kids first. And we are better for it.

Today Queen is 49 years old. He will turn 50 on February 27th. He is working in one of the best school systems in the country. It sounds as if Queen has arrived, and is ready for the assignment. That is, until he gets bored and some greater challenge catches his eye…

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