The first-year principal at Eastside Elementary School was a teacher at Daniel Middle School in Cobb County before beginning a six-year career with the Douglas County School System, where he worked at Stewart and Mason Creek middle schools and Chapel Hill Elementary School.
A native of the Washington, D.C., area, Roach has been on the school leadership fast track, moving from teacher to administrative assistant to assistant principal before landing at Eastside as its principal.
While the majority of his career has been at the middle school level, Roach said that he’d had experience on all three levels.
“I wanted to come to Eastside,” he said, “I have had experience in working in high school and middle school, but felt the need for more men to be in the elementary school level. In terms of service, it made sense, as it affords me the opportunity to serve as a role model for the young men and ladies, letting them know it is OK to learn and get an education.”
He admitted that having “a great assistant principal, Heather Stewart, has helped a lot.”
As a Title I school which receives federal funds for technology, parent outreach and other tools — plus a steady number of transient students moving in and out — there might be thoughts that Eastside’s students are at a disadvantage.
Roach, however, does not find this to be the case.
“Title I is geared toward deprived or at-risk kids,” he said. “We don’t see them as at-risk. The kids don’t see themselves at risk. They come to school with a smile on their faces and we embrace that.”
The principal said he finds the level of the school’s parent support is very heartening.
“We love that our parents want their kids to get an education and that our teachers want them to learn.”
Roach added, “All kids can learn and all kids need to be loved and served with respect,” said the principal. “Eastside is a transient school, but the kids love it here. Teachers love to see the progress of the students. It is more than just a job; the staff believes in serving —being in the business of serving —all kids.”
Roach said that the first thing he noticed about Eastside was that it seemed like a family.
“The first thing I noticed was the attitude of serving and being a support base for each other,” he explained. “Everyone works for the greater good of the kids.”
With the first full school year almost under his belt, he was asked what lessons he learned to take into next year.
“I now know what to expect,” he said.