Putnam to lead IA high school as principalBy BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,
Clete Putnam has been a leader of young men and ladies at Indianola Academy for the last 17 years.
He has coached and has won championship rings in multiple sports, and he has had a great deal of positive influence on the school’s students during his tenure, but as of last week, that role will now grow to include leading the faculty and staff of the academy’s high school.
Charlie Mason, who will take over as headmaster of the school in May, announced last week that Putnam will be the new high school principal, taking over for Mason.
“Clete is an outstanding person and leader and will bring a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the position,” Mason said. “Having graduated from IA and served on the faculty, he understands our school in a unique way. His transition to administration will benefit from the relationships he has with administration, students, parents and faculty. We are all excited about the years to come and know that he will do an outstanding job. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to watch him grow as a man and an educator and am so proud of all that he has accomplished and look forward to watching him succeed in this new position.”
Putnam said that he is excited to start this new journey in his career.
“It’s actually a direction I’ve thought I wanted to go in for awhile,” Putnam told The E-T this week. “This is a great place to get the opportunity o start in administration.”
The school is currently going through a transitional stage, as long-time Headmaster Sammy Henderson is set to retire in May. Mason has already been charged with being his replacement, and the school has been searching for a replacement for Mason since late 2018.
Putnam said that he was humbled when he got the news that he was chosen.
“The first feeling was just honor,” he said. “If you go back and look at the history of the people who have sat in that office, it’s an honor to be next to some really great people who have held that position, and I just hope that I can do half the job that has been done before. I’m looking forward to it.”
A 1997 graduate of IA, Putnam attended Mississippi Delta Community College for two years, followed by a three-year stint at Lyon College in Arkansas, where he majored in Biology and minored in Psychology.
Putnam has taught ninth grade Biology at the school for most of his time there, along with a Health class, among others.
He has served as an assistant coach in multiple sports, including football and softball, and he is currently the head baseball coach, where he led the Colonels to the 2018 AAA State Championship.
“He is a person of character and in his years at IA has made a difference in the lives of the children he has taught and coached,” Mason said. “He is respected by his peers, parents, and members of our community for the good work he has done and for the positive impact he has made on our school.”
Putnam said that IA has been blessed over the years with great leadership and a stable staff.
“I’m just blessed and honored to have the opportunity to do it under the people who are here,” Putnam said about his new role. “Mr. Mason is a great leader and a great person to get my feet in the door with, and there’s not a better place to do it.”
Putnam said that he expects the first year or two leading the high school will come with a lot of learning, but he said that he is excited to face the new challenges in front of him.
“I enjoy what I do, and I am excited about the new role,” he said.
In his time at IA he has continued his education through the MAIS Leadership Institute and received an endorsement in administration.
“His experience at IA and positive relationships with students, faculty, and parents made him the ideal candidate for the position,” Mason said.