Eric Riggs has been named the new principal at Mount Airy Middle School, and Jodi Southern has been named as principal at Franklin Elementary School.
Riggs, who most recently served as principal at Franklin Elementary, will replace Brian Taylor, who returns to his duties as assistant superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools. Riggs has served as a principal in the Surry County School System since 2005. He attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he majored in biology. He received his master’s degrees in middle grades education and school administration from Appalachian State University.
Riggs began his career at Gentry Middle School, where he taught math and science for seven years. In 2001, Riggs was named teacher of the year at Gentry Middle School. He was honored as the Surry County Principal of the Year in 2008.
“The interview committee was tremendously impressed by Mr. Riggs. His leadership experience and track record of success made him the ideal candidate,” said Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little. “He is highly motivated and focused on making a positive impact on both the school and community. He exhibits all the attributes that Mount Airy Middle School is looking for in a principal. He has been a successful teacher and principal and has the knowledge and skills to take Mount Airy Middle School to the next level.”
Dr. Ashley F. Hinson Jr. and the Surry County Board of Education recognized Riggs for his 16 years of employment in the Surry County School System. Hinson had praise for Southern’s credentials as well.
“During her 13 years of employment in Surry County Schools, Mrs. Southern has proven herself to be a quality leader, and I am assured she will work for the benefit of Franklin Elementary and the community she serves,” commented Hinson.
Hinson said Southern is a veteran educator in the Surry County School System. She has previously worked as a teacher at Copeland and Dobson elementary schools, an instructional specialist and a 21st Century executive at Franklin Elementary. Southern graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she received a Bachelor of Elementary Education. She received a master’s degree in school administration from Western Carolina in May 2012.
She is married to Monty Southern, and they have two daughters, Aubrey and Mallie. They reside in the Dobson community. “I am extremely honored to be named the principal of Franklin. I already know and love the students, teachers and parents. I am excited to work with them in this new capacity,” said Jodi Southern.