Paul McMahon came to Paulding from Cobb County’s Sprayberry High School, where he was the associate principal.
Sprayberry was a Georgia School of Excellence — schools which serve as models for others in academic gains or achievement. McMahon said wants to take Paulding to that level, as well.
He is coming into the high school that scored the lowest in the county on the inaugural Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index, scoring a 65.4 out of 100. The statewide average was 72.6.
“We are treating it as a benchmark,” McMahon said.
Areas needing improvement are math and literacy, reading and writing. Last year the school hired a math and literacy coach to help both areas.
“I think it is addressing the needs and building the process,” he said.
The school scored strong in social studies and English, McMahon said.
He said he plans to continue a three-year plan, which will be in its final year of implementation starting in the fall, to focus on increasing the graduation rate by 5 percent each year.
Last year the rate was 64.8 percent and this year it is 73.1 percent. McMahon said he wants to sustain the increase and improve it.
He said he is getting a feel for the school by coming in at the end of the school year.
“I think my advantage is I can start fall 2013 with that under my belt,” he said. “I’m calling it bonus time.”
McMahon has 31 years of experience in education and said he has been applying for a job in Paulding the past three to four years. He said the county is a good place to work and has good leadership in the district.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Tulane University, a master’s degree in English education from the University of Georgia and a doctorate of education administration from Samford University.
Being principal of the first high school in the county gives it a tradition he is looking forward to being part of, McMahon said.
Eddie Fincher, the previous principal took a position at the New Hope Learning Center as it transitions into the district’s new alternative school.