ALMA — Alma Superintendent Dr. David Woolly announced to the Alma High School Faculty on Friday that Assistant Principal Brian Kirkendoll would be the new Alma High School principal.

Jerry Valentine has been Alma High School principal for 33 years and an educator for 38 years. Valentine announced his retirement during the February school board meeting.

“We conducted a fairly long and quite thorough search to find the very best candidate to lead Alma High School into its future," said Woolly. "I am confident that we have that person in Brian Kirkendoll. Brian has the background, work ethic, academic preparation and personal skills to be the right person at the right time for this position.”

Kirkendoll began his career as an educator in 2001 as a history teacher at Alma High School. In 2007 he became assistant principal at Paris Middle School, later serving in the same role at Paris High School. In 2012 he was appointed principal at Cedarville High School, serving in that position for one year before returning to Alma High School as an assistant principal.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in History Education from the University of Central Arkansas and the Master of Educational Leadership degree from Arkansas Tech University. He is currently pursuing an Educational Specialist Degree.

Kirkendoll also served in the United States Navy for five years, primarily being assigned to nuclear submarines.

“I believe Mr. Kirkendoll will do an outstanding job of continuing to provide quality academic and co-curricular programs for the students of Alma High School," said Valentine. "He has tremendous support from the AHS faculty, and he is dedicated to academic excellence. I am confident in his leadership and I know he is committed to making every day at AHS a great day."

Kirdendoll said, “Looking to the future and building on the great successes of Alma High School, I am truly honored and blessed to be entrusted with the care and future of Alma High School. It is very humbling to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest administrators in the history of Arkansas education. Jerry Valentine is an outstanding leader and has been a mentor to me for many years."

He continued, "This is an exciting time for me, my family, and AHS. I am dedicated to carrying on with the great tradition of learning and family atmosphere Mr. Valentine’s leadership has provided. Alma High School is full of excellent teachers and students. My heart is full and I am overwhelmed by the support of our administration and school board. The future looks bright as we continue to implement new programs, curriculum, and a shared vision of excellence."