When Alisa Rice began a career in education nearly 20 years ago, she never imagined she would travel a road that would lead to her being named principal of Warren County Middle School.
“It still hasn’t set in yet,” said Rice. “I didn’t set out to be principal of the middle school. I never thought this would happen. The school operates under the motto that it’s a tradition of excellence and that’s something we all pride ourselves on. I believe it’s a big responsibility to continue the legacy that’s been established here.”
Rice was named the fourth principal in Warren County Middle School history last week. The school opened in 1994 with Donna Trevethan as principal. Trevathan was followed by Betty Wood and Gerald Tidwell.
“After Mr. Tidwell passed away, I took over as interim principal and I did the things he always expected me to do,” said Rice. “I know how to do everything that needs to be done at the school because he made sure I knew how to do it, so this is a job I feel I’m prepared for.”
Rice, a Warren County native, graduated from high school here in 1991. She got her start in education in White County as a biology teacher and also spent time teaching in DeKalb County.
Looking to get a job in her hometown, Rice was hired as a biology and physical science teacher at Warren County High School. After six years in that capacity, she made the decision to move to the middle school to teach.
That was around the same time Jimmy Walker was hired as executive principal at WCHS. Walker asked Christy Rogers, who was an assistant principal at WCMS, to join him on his staff at the high school and she accepted.
“I had just gotten my administrative license when Christy Rogers left and the position opened up at the middle school,” said Rice. “When Mr. Tidwell hired me, I told him he was taking a leap of faith because I had never been in administration before.”
That was seven years ago.
WCMS is the second largest school in the county behind the high school. Enrollment is usually more than 800 students and Rice says 825 are currently enrolled for the 2021-22 school year.
“I don’t want to change a bunch of things because the structure and routine that’s in place at the middle school works well,” said Rice. “I want to make sure everyone feels safe at school and I want to keep the positive culture that’s in place. Working on parent involvement is one thing I’d like to do. I want parents to spend more time at school doing things with their children.”
Both of Alisa’s parents were business owners in Warren County. Her mother, Amy Reynolds, operated The Pool Shop for many years. Her father, Clifford Reynolds, operated Reynolds Amusement.
Alisa is married to Jason Rice and they have two children, Ivy, 19, and Kelsa, 16, who is a junior and clarinet player at WCHS.