Dr. Candis Angle never wanted to be anything other than a teacher.
And that she did. Big time. She is embarking on her 35th year with Wilson County Schools and just accepted a position as Mt. Juliet Middle School principal. She’s a 1981 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School.
In other words, she’s a home town girl. Her past experience has her primed for this multi-faceted position in Mt. Juliet. She replaces MJMS principal Michael Hickman, who was transferred to head Mt. Juliet Elementary School. Angle spent the last three years at Lebanon High School where she loved her job as assistant principal.
Started at age six
Angle’s earliest memories of school were picking extra mimeographed handouts out of the trash can to take home.
“I handed them out to my dolls,” she recalled with a smile. “At a family reunion in a park, I found an abandoned score book at the ball field and took it home to use as a grade book. I was literally playing school and planning to be a teacher since I first walked through the classroom doors at age six.”
She was first hired by Bobby Bucy in 1984 to teach math and English. She became administrator under Judy Parltow in 1999 and later was an administrator under former Mt. Juliet High School principal Mel Brown for six years.
“I then moved to the central office to work in HR as Coordinator of Educator Effectiveness,” said Angle. “I did that for two years and realized I needed to be in a school with students.”
Thus, her stint at LHS.
“Dr. Donna Wright [school’s director] called me about MJMS and I accepted immediately,” she said.
Though the world of education has dominated her career, Angle takes much pride in her personal life. She says she has a “wonderful” family, and indeed, it’s quite large. Her husband Robert is an accountant for the Department of Agriculture and they’ve been married 34 years and have four children. All are married and they have six grandchildren.
Angle has lived in Mt. Juliet most of her life. It’s bittersweet to leave her Lebanon High School assistant principal post the last three years, but she’s taught at MJMS for many years and several of the teachers there were former students of hers.
“This feels like I am coming home,” she said.
A critical age
Starting this school year, she will be at the helm of MJMS, dealing with a challenging age group as they come into their own.
“When I have been asked before as to what age I would go back to if I got a ‘mulligan,’ I have always said I'd go back to age 12,” Angle said. “That age range is so critical - beginning to grow into adulthood, gaining more independence from one's parents, making choices that will impact the future - all of that becomes more real in middle school.
“Students are facing hard decisions every day, and creating a safe environment where students can learn and grow and become...that is vital. It is both a challenge and an incredible opportunity to be part of those transitional years.”
The school is busting at the seams with a projected 1,215 students and about 65 teachers coming this August’s first day. Angle has three assistant principals; Jeremy Willis, Chareda Sims and Missy Butcher.
And, the journey has begun already. Angle started the transition mid-June and her first day was July 1.
“At the top of my to-do list is to fill all open positions with high-quality teachers who are ready to be part of a great team.,” she said. “Alongside that, volunteers have been working very hard to give the building a much-needed face-lift, both inside and out.”
A love for her family and education
In the mix is her otherwise “happy place.”
“I have six grandchildren and when I am with them, I am my happy place,” she said.
She also enjoys quilt-making and working jigsaw puzzles.
“I keep a puzzle out all the time, and I put a few pieces together each day to relax. I love to read and listen to audio books,” said Angle. “I have already read over 50 books this year and plan to start on the 6th-8th grade reading lists!”
She is humble with advice to other principals.
“Make decisions, based on what is best for students,” she noted.
“You cannot be a great principal if you don't have great love for your people.”
And a throwback, it’s interesting and makes it come full circle for this woman who simply loves education in Mt. Juliet.
“I was living in Mt. Juliet, when the building of several schools took place,” she revealed. “I attended Lakeview the first year it opened. I attended WWMS the first year it opened (as Mt. Juliet junior high). I attended West Elementary the year the front part of the building opened. I attended MJHS the year after the cafeteria burned, and we had to eat sandwiches and chips in the auditorium for an entire semester while they rebuilt it.”
Back to present, three years ago Angle completed the Rock n Roll half-marathon. But, she believes her future at MJMS won’t be a long marathon, but simply a joy.
Her motto is, “It’s new day at Mt. Juliet.”
“We are starting a new and exciting chapter at MJMS, and I cannot wait to see it unfold,” she said.