Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

New Heights High Principal Team Blends Experiences, Strengths

July 19, 2021 -- The administrative team at Heights High School for the 2021-2022 school year includes two professionals new to the CH-UH City School District, Taylor Smith and Brandon Towns.

Smith and Towns join Interim Administrative Principal Dr. Alisa Lawson-McKinnie and assistant principals John Fullerman and James Dubsky. Superintendent Liz Kirby said she is excited to see this energetic new team convene, as their varied backgrounds and skill sets complement each other.

“This group is like the pieces of a puzzle coming together - they bring years of experience in top-notch organizational leadership, teaching, communication, technology, coaching, and more,” said Kirby. “Most importantly, these individuals have a passion for providing a high-quality education to each and every student, helping them grow into young adults ready for college and career.”

Meet the 21-22 Heights High Principal Team

Taylor Smith, 10th Grade Assistant Principal
Taylor Smith served the Brooklyn City School District as the Technology Coordinator from 2016 to 2021, where he implemented professional development and technology integration across the district. Smith also served as the Dean of Students for the Brooklyn City Schools in the 2019-2020 school year. In that role, Smith instituted Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) for the student body and worked closely with teacher teams across grade levels.

Prior to coming to Brooklyn City Schools, Smith was a social studies teacher at Lake Catholic High School and a high school wrestling coach.

“I am really looking forward to working with students to help them become the best version of themselves that they can be,” said Smith.

Brandon Towns, 11th Grade Assistant Principal
A former science teacher and most recently an assistant principal in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Brandon Towns joins Tiger Nation excited to work with the students and staff of such a storied school.

“I am a people person. I love meeting new people and building relationships with the ones that I already know. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to add value to such a phenomenal community,” said Towns.

Towns also served as a Curriculum & Instruction Specialist for CMSD from 2016-2018. Towns was a 2012 Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellow and is currently pursuing his PhD in Urban Education from Cleveland State University.

Dr. Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, Interim Administrative Principal
Dr. Alisa Lawson-McKinnie has served the District as an administrator for eight years, instrumental in growing Heights High’s Advanced Placement, College Credit Plus, and former Early College programs.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead Heights High in the upcoming year,” said Dr. Lawson-McKinnie. “It’s a pivotal moment in time for our students, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide them with the support and guidance they need to succeed.”

Prior to CH-UH, Lawson-McKinnie worked as a high school principal in Columbus Public Schools and CMSD. She earned her doctorate from Cleveland State University.

James Dubsky, 9th Grade Assistant Principal
James Dubsky joined the principal team at Heights High in 2020, having served as Heights High’s dean of students for the two school years prior. Dubsky first came to CH-UH in 2009 as a physical education teacher at Oxford Elementary School and became dean of students for Heights Middle School in 2017.

When asked what he loves about his work in a 2020 interview, Dubsky said, “I like that I get to work with an entire grade level and get to know all of the students.”

Prior to working in education, Dubsky was a strength and conditioning coach with the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, and an NFL combine training group.

John Fullerman, 12th Grade Assistant Principal
John Fullerman joined the Heights High administration team in 2015. Fullerman was previously the principal of Summit Academy Secondary School in Canton, where he was also the head coach of their basketball team. Prior to entering the education field, initially as a teacher, he served as a Cleveland Heights police officer from 2003 to 2009.

“My favorite thing about Heights High is the students. Greeting them as they enter the building, talking to them in the halls and eating lunch with them are some of my favorite parts of the day,” said Fullerman in a 2020 interview.

Fullerman was named the CH-UH Administrator of the Year for 2021.

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