Bidwell named new Franklin School principal

Eric Bidwell

Eric Bidwell

David Butler
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 02:49 PM.

The Franklin County School Board Thursday unanimously approved the hiring of Eric Bidwell to succeed George Oehlert as the principal over the consolidated kindergarten through 12th grade school.

Bidwell, 43, who has been assistant principal at the school, began in the new position April 5. Oehlert is retiring after four years at the helm of the school.

Bidwell addressed the board briefly, thanking them for the appointment and extending his gratitude for the support of both Oehlert and Al London, the former school psychologist who now works as an administrator at the district office.

“The teachers have been very positive in the role I played over the past couple years,” said Bidwell. “I look forward to it being a new era. We’re going to continue to improve and continue the things we started. I think from here on out, things are going to move in a positive direction. We’re going to certainly focus on student achievement and it is going to be a team effort.”

A Wewahitchka native, Bidwell earned bachelors and masters degrees from the University of West Florida and in 2009, after teaching at Gulf Coast State College, came to Franklin County High School as an English teacher and then became assistant principal this year.

In his remarks, Bidwell alluded to the Florida Rural Turnaround Project that he discussed at length with the board last month.

“It targets struggling school systems, mostly academically,” said Bidwell.

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