A former high school linebacker and assistant football coach, Ed Shaddix is no stranger to responding to pressure with little time left on the clock. That may explain why he's been able to handle the quick transition to his dream job.
The new principal at North Gwinnett High School, Shaddix welcomed students to their first day of classes Monday, addressing them during their lunch periods. Shaddix was eager to introduce himself after being officially given the job July 31, taking over for Dr. John Green.
Since then, it's been a whirlwind for the 36-year-old father of two.
"I met with my administrative team on (Aug. 1), and then we had the teachers on Monday," Shaddix said of how quickly he was thrown into his new job. "Things have been very smooth, and that's a testament to Dr. Green and the culture he developed here."
It's a culture Shaddix intends to continue developing. A 1990 Shiloh High grad, he was a team captain as a senior and later returned to coach football at his alma mater under the man who coached him, Charlie Jordan. At one point, he wanted to be a head football coach like Jordan, a man he respects immensely.
While he did become athletic director at Shiloh, his goal of running a football team was replaced by a desire to run a school. He threw himself into that pursuit, performing the dual duties of athletic director and assistant principal at Shiloh before moving on to Dacula, where he was an assistant principal for the past two years.
The North Gwinnett job opened up when Green moved to the county office, and Shaddix got the chance to attain his professional goal.
"The county spends a great deal of time looking for a great fit," Shaddix said of the selection process. "Dr. Green and I are philosophically a lot alike. I share a lot of the same values the community has."
Shaddix and his wife, Brooke, who live in Grayson, have two sons - Payton, 10, and Nick, 5. Nick had his first day of kindergarten Monday, and that was a lot more nerve-wracking for Shaddix than his own first day at North.
He's comfortable both with his staff and the direction he wants to take the school.
"I really haven't been nervous since I've been here. I know the processes are in place to make things work," Shaddix said. "I got the job at such a late hour, but it hasn't been overwhelming ... Strong assistant principals and a great staff have made things easier."
Shaddix knows each day he'll get a little more comfortable at the school, but he's already comfortable with his goal.
"I'm about making kids successful and finding avenues to make them successful," he said.
He knows it will take a lot of hard work and long hours to attain that, but that doesn't intimidate him. He's already worked hard for this chance, the position he's always wanted.
"(Long hours) come with the territory. You know it going in," he said. "You know you have to be visible, especially after following Dr. Green. Parents want to see you out in the community and they want to know you care about their kids.
"They have very high expectations, and I wouldn't want it any other way."
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Tuesdays.