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Harding named Cropper principal

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By Nathan L. McBroom

A local school administrator has been named the principal at the Shelby County Education Center at Cropper.

Don Harding, an assistant principal at Shelby County High School for the past six years, got the appointment last week.

Harding said he is excited about his new position and the possibilities that are at the school.

Superintendent James Neihof, who appointed Harding to the position, said Harding's experience and abilities made him the natural choice for the job.

The principal position was vacated last month when former Principal Michael Rowe was named as the interim principal at Shelby County High School.

Harding said with him going to Cropper and Rowe going to SCHS, the two men have met on several occasion to "pick each others brains" on issues that face the schools.

Harding has 20 years of experience in education. He said he hopes to have 20 more years before he's done.

"I do it because I love being with the kids. That's why I'm here," he said. "Being with the kids helps keep me young."

Harding grew up in West Virginia where he was involved in sports such as football, baseball and basketball, and cross-country.

In a press release, Harding said he believes those extracurricular skills helped instill in him important life lessons.

"It gave me a chance to connect and know the value of hard work, responsibility for my behavior, and winning and losing."

He began his educational career as an elementary physical education teacher in West Virginia. When he had the chance to relocate in 1993, he and his wife chose the Shelby County area because of its similarity to their hometown. He has degrees from Eastern Kentucky University, University of Louisville and West Virginia University.

Harding also taught special education before going into administration.

Harding said for many students at Cropper, that school is last stop.

He said he wants to instill in his students a "refuse to lose attitude" which does not give up because of difficulties or setbacks.

He hopes that philosophy will help students succeed in life.

In the release, Neihof said that he believes Harding's leadership will continue the successes that have already begun.

"Mr. Harding has a tremendous work ethic. His commitment to high expectations both for himself and his students are exactly what are needed at the Education Center. Mr. Harding brings a 'refuse to lose' attitude to his work with students and believes that effort creates ability. The future is bright for the students at the Education Center."

There are currently about 70 students enrolled for the 2008-2009 school year in grades 6-12.