Wesley Styles believes the foundation of an effective education begins in elementary school and if education is done right with younger students it makes it easier for teachers at the high school and middle school level.
“If we get it right at this level we can really make a difference for kids,” Wesley says.
A native of Waco, Georgia, Wesley moved to Rome to attend Shorter University in 1997 where he met his wife and also first began working with Rome City Schools. In 2001 he began teaching Chemistry and Physics at Rome High School and in his second year he started coaching wrestling. Wesley said he wanted to be a different kind of coach that commanded respect as a teacher first and then as a coach.
“I always prided myself as being a teacher first,” he says. “I was a bit of an odd bird because I taught chemistry and physics and coached.”
Wesley left Rome High School in 2011 to pursue his Master’s Degree in leadership through a specialist program at Berry College. He taught at Darlington School for a year and also had an internship at Elm Street Elementary while attending Berry. It was here Wesley saw the importance of an elementary education, and realized if he wanted to work in administration it would need to be at that level. If it wasn’t for his internship with Elm Street he never would have been able to see the elementary school side of things, he says. Having kids of his own also helped him make the switch to elementary school education.
After earning his Master’s Degree, Wesley got the opportunity to work with the Polk County school system where he worked for six years and at one point worked in the central office as the director of curriculum and instruction for the system. Wesley says he received a phone call about becoming the principal at North Heights Elementary in March of 2018. He felt disconnected from the students when he was working at a central office and couldn’t see himself doing central office work for the next 12 years of his career so he accepted the job and became the new principal of North Heights Elementary for the 2018-2019 school year. Wesley says he likes interacting with the students and being where the action is. He likes affecting change in the schools at the principal level more than when he worked in a central office.
Now, Wesley will be moving again to fill the role of principal of East Central Elementary School and will begin that role in July.