Local Assistant Principal Called Up

The Gadsden County school system is losing one of its assistant principals to the current troop buildup.

Shanks High School has recruited a temporary replacement for Joe Lewis, but both administrators and students say they feel his absence.

We spoke a few students who say Lewis was the kind of assistant principal who made sure he was also a friend.

James A. Shanks High school is home of the fighting tigers. Lewis is a big part of the "pride," but he's now traded in his suit and tie for a uniform, and is currently stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Though he is not far, students here say his absence from the campus has had an impact on their lives.

"You can miss his presence he used to stand here with us in the mornings and talk to us, he used to always fuss at me and tell me to fuss at me and tell me to take my head scarf off, things like that it's the little things we miss,” says junior Erika McMillon.

"I miss him because he was a nice person he brought discipline to the school, not that it is chaotic now but he really pushed for you to obey the rules and I hope he comes back safely,” says Interim Assistant Principal Lewis Thigpen.

In the meantime school officials have recruited a retired former assistant principal to replace Lewis temporarily.

"I decided that maybe I can come assist since Mr. Lewis had been called to duty I felt it was my responsibility to maybe help out,” Thigpen adds.

And right now school officials have tied yellow ribbons around the trees on campus as a form their support for Lewis and the other soldiers fighting abroad.

The new interim assistant principal recently moved to Quincy from Broward County where he was assistant principal for 36 years.

Lewis had served 20 years in the military as a reservist and he had planned on retiring in December of this year.