Northwestern High School assistant principal Arthur "Ozzie" Ahl is jumping ship to take the helm at Rock Hill High.
He starts officially on Jan. 17, replacing current principal Judy Mobley, who is leaving for a job in the Rock Hill school district's central office.
In recommending Ahl to the school board, Superintendent Lynn Moody called him an "exceptionally strong instructional leader."
Ahl talked with The Herald about the job and shifting from a Trojan to a Bearcat.
What are you going to do with all of your purple clothes after Jan. 17?
That is the million-dollar question. Since word got out that I would be moving over to Rock Hill High, the Northwestern apparel vultures have been by my office daily asking for different items.
As you can imagine, over the past 18 years I have amassed an extensive collection. The most lucrative idea that has been discussed is to do a silent auction. I could use the proceeds to start a college fund for my daughter, Susanna. In all actuality, I will probably just rent a U-haul, empty out my drawers and closets and bring it all to school. Then the vultures can take it all.
What are two of your proudest accomplishments as an assistant principal?
The proudest accomplishment of any assistant principal is to be part of the successes of the students. I have been fortunate over the past 10 years to be a small part of the lives of the students here at Northwestern. There is nothing like presenting a state championship medal or ring to a young man or woman who has devoted countless hours to be the best. You cannot explain the feeling of seeing a student walk across the stage and receive a diploma. This is magnified when this student is the first in his family to do so, or if the student has overcome some significant obstacle. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do both of these numerous times in my career as an assistant principal.
How has your father, Air Force Col. Arthur Ahl, who leads Northwestern's ROTC program, influenced your approach to education?
He has been the most influential person on my approach to life. I could not have asked for a better role model. He has always set high expectations for himself, those who worked for him, and me. This is a trait that I feel I have made my own as well. My father also has instilled in me the characteristic of consistency. He has always demanded the best of those around him. This includes hard work, following the rules and giving 100 percent to the mission. Anyone who knows him will attest to this. Every day, I try to live and perform in the same manner. If I can prove to be half the leader and father he is, I will consider myself to be extremely successful.
How in your opinion should the roles of a principal and assistant principal differ?
In both roles the responsibility is to provide a safe learning environment for all students. The difference is the level of responsibility. As the principal, ultimately I will be responsible for leading the students, staff and community to make Rock Hill High the best.
When Northwestern plays against Rock Hill in sporting events, who will you pull for?
I can assure you that it will not be South Pointe! Sorry, Al (Leonard, principal at South Pointe). In all seriousness, I have been a teacher, coach and administrator at Northwestern for a long time. I know that anyone who has known me through the years will vouch for the fact that I have been an avid Trojan supporter. I always will have a special place in my heart for Northwestern and the students, staff, and families with whom I have worked. With all that being said, on January 17, 2011, I will be 110 percent Bearcat.