"Lean on Me" principal address DOCO schools

George Graham, principal of Lamar Reese Magnate School of the Arts. / Jessica Fairley

Dr. Joe Louis Clark, the man who inspired Morgan Freeman's character in the 80's movie "Lean on Me" reached out to local educators to show them that in spite of recent scandals, and low graduation rates, they can turn the Dougherty County School System around.

Tuesday morning the educator and motivational speaker held a phone interview with faculty at Lamar Reese Magnate School of the Arts.

He instilled in them his belief that failure is not an option.

"I would tell them one way or the other, you're going to be productive in this building and if you're not productive, you're going to leave one way or another. You'll leave voluntarily or I'll drive you crazy," said Former East Side High School Principal Dr. Joe Clark.

The advice aims to motivate students, faculty, and staff in the Dougherty County School System and educators say they were taking notes during the conversation.

"You have to have stakeholders involved and the number one stake holder that he talked about were the family, the church, the community, and anyone interested in education," said Lamar Reese Magnate School of the Arts Principal George Graham.

Graham says in order for a school to succeed everyone involved must dedicate themselves to progress.

Another educator within the school says the doctor filled her with confidence that any and all schools have the capabilities of turning around.

"We're actually living through this CRCT investigation. He's telling us that if you put your mind on the main agenda then we can get through this," said Lamar Reese Magnate School Reading Teacher Patricia Bentley.