Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Principal Donnie Nutt
Donnie Nutt graduated from Dacula High School in 1975. After he graduated college, he was able to return as a teacher and a coach. Ten years ago, he returned for a third time -- as the school's principal. The longtime Dacula resident recently sat down to discuss his memories of the school, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
On whether he ever imagined he would become principal of his alma mater: It never crossed my mind at all. In my mind, I was planning on being an engineer or something like that. I think through the work with some young people early on, even in my teen years and into my early 20s, that kind of got me hooked to work with students.
On the high school's move to its current location: We moved into it in February of 1974. I was actually a junior in school then. Me and a couple other guys ... we actually, for two or three days, worked with the principal and the custodial staff helping out during school and moving desks and whatever over here. File cabinets. And then, you know, literally, on the day we moved, we just came across the road and sat down and started having class. It was literally that simple. We moved across the road and started having class. Literally, pick your desk up and walk across and set it down and started class.
On his first year as principal: It was not the same as when I left, exactly, just because of the size. I think my first year we had about 1,800 students. When I was a teacher, when I left, we had 250 students. Then, of course, ... it went up to 3,000 during my time here.
On his former boss Bob Cooper: He was just a great guy, one of my heroes. He was one of those guys that you knew he was an easy-going guy, but you knew when he meant business. I think part of him might have helped set the tone for the way we continue even today. He came, right after I got here as the principal ... I looked up, and here he came through the door one day. Him and his wife. I walked out and hugged his neck and stuff. He said, "I kept reading about you getting this job in the newspaper. I figured I'd better come check on you." He just drove from South Georgia just to come up here and check on us.
On how work easily blends together with family time: My first year here as a principal, I was able to give my daughter her diploma, and this year, I'll be able to give my son his diploma from Dacula. She now teaches at Dacula Elementary, and my wife works at Dacula Middle School. So it's just a family affair around here. We live in Dacula, down in Harbins. The fortunate part for me, as the principal, part of your job is to cover events ... but at a Friday night football game, it's not that I'm necessarily working. It's more of a family outing, because my family's here.