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Kirksey hopes to provide ‘true high school experience’ as head principal
September 27, 2021
Central introduced a new, yet familiar, face to the head of the administration this school year. Ellisa Kirksey, former assistant principal, replaced Dr. Ed Bennett, who had been principal since 2013. He announced that he would be moving to Minneapolis for family opportunities.
Although new to the head principal position, Kirksey has gained years of experience working in OPS. She first taught at King Science and Technology Magnet Center.
“I began working for OPS in August of 1990. I was a seventh-grade social studies teacher,” Kirksey said.
She moved to the OPS student and community services department in 1998. However, she always wanted to be an assistant principal, so she accepted the position at Central in 2000. Kirksey sees Central as a special place and community.
“My favorite thing about Central is the diverse population and the experience,” Kirksey said.
Kirksey did not immediately apply for her new position. She took some time to ponder her decision before committing to the next step.
“After Dr. Bennett retired and much soul searching, I decided to apply for the job,” Kirksey said.
Now that she is in the position, Kirksey sees it as “an honor.” She knows that this school year is bound to present a new set of challenges, and it will take time for students and teachers to adjust.
“I must remember students have not been in a normal school setting since March 2020,” Kirksey said.
She hopes to provide opportunities for students to interact with each other in a normal way, even with the current circumstances set by the coronavirus.
“This year, I want students to experience the true high school experience as it relates to activities and creating memories,” Kirksey said.
As for the challenges and adversities that Kirksey is facing as head principal, she keeps a positive mindset. She is taking this school year “day by day.”
“Things get better every day,” Kirksey said. “Every day is a restart.”