When the 2023-24 school year begins, high school students will welcome a new high school principal – Michael Oakley – but his won’t be a new face on campus.

Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, Oakley taught history and geography in the middle and high schools at Marietta before serving as the assistant high school principal for three years. From there, Oakley moved to Dickson where he’s spent two years as middle school principal.

Oakley looks forward to returning to Marietta.

“I enjoyed my time at Marietta,” he said. “I left because it was a promotion near my home, but Marietta is really where I want to be. It’s like coming home for me.”

Oakley’s path into the field of education has been circuitous. Raised in Rice, Texas, he initially dropped out of high school and got a GED in 1997. He’d intended to go into the military but couldn’t be accepted without a high school diploma.

He returned to high school, graduating from Corsicana, Texas in 1999, then went into the military, spending two years in the Army and four in the Air Force.

“I always have been and will continue to be a big supporter of the military,” Oakley explained. “It matured me, gave me skills, and made me appreciate my country more.”

After his service, Oakley attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s degree in Education.

“I went into education because I wanted to help kids,” Oakley said. “Education changed my life. After I dropped out of high school, it was education that turned my life around, and I’m trying to help kids turn their lives around. I enjoy helping kids be successful and accomplish what they want to do.”

Oakley’s early plans include meeting with teachers and examining ACT and state testing data to see where efforts need to be focused.

“I want to work to motivate the kids and show them opportunities for after graduation, whether it’s military, technical school, or college,” he said. “Whatever they want to do, we want to prepare them for that.”

Oakley lives in Dickson with his wife Holly and daughter Fiona.

The school will be hosting a meet-and-greet on Wednesday, March 22 in the school cafeteria from 4 to 5 p.m. The community is invited to attend and get to know Oakley.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Mr. Oakley back to the Marietta family,” said Superintendent Brandi Naylor, “and excited for the vision he has for Marietta High School moving forward.”