After nearly a decade with the district, Dr. Adonis Bolden, the assistant principal at Hayes High School, has departed Delaware City Schools to lead Marion Harding High School.
Bolden joined the district in 2014 as the assistant principal at then-Willis Intermediate School. Bolden said when the district restructured to bring fifth graders back to the elementary schools and move sixth graders to Dempsey Middle School, he was assigned to serve as the assistant principal at Hayes during the 2015-2016 school year.
“Once I arrived, I was quickly welcomed into the culture of Hayes and immediately began cultivating and nurturing relationships with the students and staff,” Bolden said. “I absolutely enjoyed my experience in DCS, but in particular, my time at Hayes.”
Bolden said there were “so many positive and wonderful” experiences and interactions he had at Willis and Hayes, but things were not all “rosy or peaches and cream.”
“In fact, I endured some tough times and experienced some disappointments that were deeply heartbreaking and deflating on multiple levels,” Bolden said. “However, I fully acknowledge that those disappointing moments helped further shape my outlook as an educator.”
Bolden departed the district earlier this month after accepting the position of principal at Marion Harding High School. Bolden said he’s excited to start working with staff and students.
“I find the charge of forming new relationships with students, staff, parents and the community most exhilarating,” Bolden said. “Part of this task involves me spending time with these various stakeholder groups and listening to their experiences; brainstorming new ideas possibilities; improving current practices; and creating an environment where everyone is both valued and welcomed.”
Bolden said he learned “many lessons” in Delaware that will help him in the future.
“One of the most valuable lessons that I learned from my time in the district, and from working under the tutelage of Superintendent (Heidi) Kegley, is the importance of building relationships,” Bolden said. “While that tenet has always been a foundational element of who I am as a person, it was so refreshing to find that quality in other administrators within DCS. Moreover, to be allowed and encouraged to be your authentic self was so liberating.”
Bolden said he’ll take “a litany of lessons that I was fortunate enough to experience and learn from the many colleagues, fellow administrators, students and parents of which I had the privilege to work” to Marion Harding. He added those lessons include reserving judgement and getting all the facts; incorporating humor into “our very tough jobs;” using compassion and being empathetic; valuing people; understanding and accepting that change takes time; and the importance of communicating clearly.
Bolden said he also learned to emphasize and support the fact that “learning looks different in students and accepting that learning happens at different rates for everyone.”
“These qualities and a legion of so many others are the gems that I will treasure and carry with me to Harding,” he added.
Bolden said he was inspired by the way the Delaware community “rallies to support its students and families,” including events like Supplies for Scholars to the way Delaware lets seniors choose who presents them with their diplomas regardless of what building that person works in or what grade that person teaches.
“My heart was warmed and touched by many of these humane gestures,” Bolden said. “Despite some of the negative publicity that DCS receives from the misinformed, uninformed, and just out right ‘haters,’ DCS is one of the best institutions of which I have been affiliated over my 20-plus years of working with students. DCS responds to crises in ways that are genuine and authentic. By no means am I saying, insinuating, or intimating that DCS is perfect, because we all have areas of growth. I am saying that DCS is making daily strides toward pursuing improvement.”
Bolden said there are “a myriad of things” that he’ll miss about Delaware, chief among them being the relationship he forged with the district’s “spectacular students.”
“I will miss the collaboration, the camaraderie, and the inspirational bonds that I established with some of our staff members,” Bolden continued. “I will miss the collaboration and honesty exhibited by some of the parents, and I will miss the amazingly supportive community of which I was immersed. The various social agencies of which I worked were hugely instrumental in providing timely resources and supports to families will also remain etched in my memory.”
Hayes Principal Ric Stranges said Bolden will be missed at Hayes and in Delaware.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Adonis Bolden in two different districts going into our second decade together,” Stranges said Monday. “He brought to our team a unique perspective on school and on life. He truly made a difference here at Hayes. He had the ability to know every student. That comes by making a concerted effort to be present in the school and in the community. He is ready for the challenge ahead, and I know he will continue to do good work for the students in Marion.”
Bolden said he departs the district with positive feelings about Delaware.
“Delaware has shown me so much love over the years and generally speaking, it has embraced me wholly,” Bolden said. “The students, their families, and the wonderfully and talented group of individuals that befriended me are some of the most important commodities that I will miss. I harbor nothing but love in my heart for Delaware.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.