Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year!
Beginning a new year is always one of the most exciting privileges of being an administrator. The first week is a culmination of each task on the summer to do list coming to fruition. I love to hear the chatter of students in the halls when they see friends they’ve missed the past couple of months, the band practicing for the upcoming football season, the cheerleaders planning the first pep rally and the seasoned teachers discussing what an awesome impact some of the new changes will make in the lives of the students we so eagerly strive to influence in a meaningful way. These events are only a small part of what happens on campuses around our state, and combined with academic expectations, could cause you to overlook the miracles that happen around you on a daily basis.
I would like to encourage you to make each and every day count. Be the administrator you think of when you think of the characteristics that make up the “total package”: compassion, patience, support, encouragement, strength, dedication, drive, determination and most of all stamina. Each year should not be considered a sprint, but a marathon. The people that you lead in your school will need at least one of the aforementioned characteristics every day. This responsibility can sometimes be exhausting, but is worth your effort to help develop teachers and students into the people God has intended them to be.
Let me encourage you to reach out and network with some of your fellow administrators throughout the year. This is an excellent way to help you work through difficulties and situations that may arise in any and all school settings.
I am confident in the abilities you have and I pray that each of you have the best school year possible.
Letter from the AAMSP President
Where has the summer gone? Most likely, the bulk of your summer was a lot of hard work: planning, interviewing, hiring, orientation sessions, etc. And often, the amount of time you have put into preparation is hard to see. The discussions with staff, some doodling, scheduling, meetings, and reflections add up to hours upon hours that may not be tangible for others to see. Yet, this kind of time helps you make a smooth start to a school year.
During the summer, like many of you, my pace at school is different, but in the back of my mind, I know summer is over when the Fourth of July holiday hits. Things have ramped up over the last few weeks with orientations, schedule picks up, and Meet Your Teacher. People would ask if I’m ready to start, and my reply is always, “it’s time!”
I remember as a kid that summer break was almost three months. Summers seemed long and not quite as hot. When August rolled around, as I got older, football practice would start and I began to get antsy about returning to a routine. It was time to see some friends I hadn’t seen since May. My birthday is in late August, and several times when I was in school, my birthday fell on the first day of school. Wow! What a present! What a bummer! It was a gift you couldn’t return or regift. Even with the start of school falling on a special day, I was glad to get started because it was time.
This is my 29th opening of a school year, 14 as an administrator. School starts earlier for us now, but it is needed to help students retain what they have learned. But it’s time. This year my school theme at Auburn Junior High School is creating connections. I encouraged my teachers and am encouraging you that it’s time to make connections with students and stakeholders. It’s time to have an impact on kids that will last a lifetime. It’s time for our teachers to pass along the knowledge and passion for their subject. It’s time to provide a tremendous service to our communities. It’s time for fall sports like volleyball, cross country, and football. It’s time for band and cheerleading. It’s time for Friday nights. It’s time to see your students out of the classroom pursuing the things they love. It’s time to make a difference!
I pray for the safety of your school families. I wish you good luck and God’s blessing on you and your school families. I am excited for the 2022-2023 school year and working with you more through AAMSP.
Welcome Back, Everyone!
I hope you had a great summer and a great start to your school year! We had a wonderful summer at AASSP! The CLAS Convention was a huge success, the national elementary and secondary conferences were well attended by Alabama leaders, we planned wonderful events for the upcoming school year, and we even found time to squeeze in some rest and relaxation. I hope you are ready for a great year in AASSP.
It has been an odd summer in many respects too. We have one system with 21 new principals and another with 14. Wow! That is a huge turnover in one year! Many systems have faced changes in principal leadership, and AASSP is ready to help engage the new leaders, and we hope our veteran principals are ready to help as well. If we find a new principal who needs to communicate with a veteran principal, we will do our best to connect you.
We are also adding legislative hill days for principals. All three groups, AAESA, AAMSP, and AASSP will work together to advocate for the important job being done by principals all over the state, and we hope you will be a part of this endeavor. Details will be coming shortly on this.
Additionally, we are conducting a survey for principals and assistant principals to gain some valuable data about principals and issues you face every day. Essentially, we want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about the job so we can assess the issues and make plans to address the issues. We know that you are facing teacher shortages, staff shortages, facility issues, curriculum issues, parent issues, and many other issues that impact your job, and we want to know how to help alleviate those issues. We will have the survey open during the month of September.
I hope you all have a fabulous year! I would love to see everyone smiling at the Fall Conference because your first semester has been a huge success. As always, let us know how we can assist in any way.
Thank you all for the job you do for those under your care!
Alabama Student Council Association - Membership Time!
As you begin another year with a renewed excitement of positive change in your buildings, I encourage you to engage with your best and brightest student leaders and not only allow, but also encourage your student council/student government organization to join and become involved at the state level. Our students need every opportunity to develop their leadership skills, and what better place to do that but with the state student council organization (ASCA) sponsored by AASSP. It is our commitment to grow young leaders beginning with middle school students and continuing through their senior year of high school. Please have your advisor for your student group (novice or experienced) attend the ADVISOR WORKSHOP scheduled for October 3 at the Legends Marriott in Prattville. More information can be found on the ASCA website www.asca.hereweb.com or by contacting me in the CLAS office.
Remember that the only constant in change is that things will change! Help be the change agent one student leader at a time.
Best regards for the best year yet!
Membership and events for the Alabama Student Council Association
AASSP/AAMSP Fall Conference
Sunday, Nov. 6th, 2pm to Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 10am
27200 Perdido Beach Boulevard
Orange Beach, AL
Greensboro Middle School: A Year in Review
Greensboro Middle School had a successful 2021 – 2022 school year. It was a year highlighted by significant achievements and firsts:
The GMS Chess Team: For the first time in school history, Greensboro Middle School had a 16-member chess team coached by Principal Sanders. The team met each Friday during the X Block LEAD Academy Period and after-school enrichment. The team competed in three tournaments (two hosted by Westlawn Middle School in Tuscaloosa and the First Annual Hale County Chess Tournament). Greensboro Middle School placed first in both Westlawn-sponsored tournaments and had a clean sweep in the First Annual Hale County Chess Tournament with team members placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. According to Principal Sanders, "I am very proud of our students. All of them were new to chess and we took great pride in making sure our students learned classical chess openings, strategies, and tactics. We look forward to growing our chess program and are willing to travel to compete in chess tournaments."
Lyniya Washington, 1st Place Winner: Lyniya Washington won 1st Place in the Hale County Soil and Water Conservation District “Healthy Soil Healthy Life” poster contest for 4th through 6th grade. She later went on to win 1st Place in the Area III Alabama Association of Conservation Districts. Area III consists of 11 counties, and the GMS family is incredibly proud of Lyniya’s accomplishments.
Jahiem Wilcher Wins 1st Place in Essay Contest: Jahiem Wilcher won 1st Place in the 2nd Annual Woods Promise Inc. Essay Contest. Jahiem, currently a high school freshman, has plans to attend college with a desire to become an attorney. He has a great interest in the constitution and may very well enter politics one day.
Hayden Wright Selected for Tech Trek: Hayden Wright was selected to attend the very competitive Tech Trek STEM Camp at the University of Alabama – Huntsville. Tech Trek is highly competitive and is geared towards increasing the number of young ladies in STEM-related fields. Students must be recommended by their principal or faculty member and undergo a rigorous interview process. The camp is a one-week resident camp, and young ladies are mentored by professional women who are astronauts, doctors, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and the like.
Anthony “Tony” Sanders Selected as the 2022 UA ACCESS Administrator of the Year: Principal Sanders was selected as The University of Alabama 2022 ACCESS Virtual Learning Administrator of the Year. According to Principal Sanders, "ACCESS Virtual Learning allows GMS to offer courses to our students that otherwise would not be available. It also helps in filling the gap where teacher shortages may exist.” The UA Access Support Center serves nearly 14,000 secondary students.
Greensboro Middle School is excited about reaching new heights during the 2022 – 2023 school year. Go Raiders!
Tips for Administrators as You Begin a New Year...and Don't Forget to Write that Note!
If you are a first-year assistant principal, first-year principal, veteran administrator, or even if this is your last year; we all need to self-evaluate and learn. Here are a few things that I have learned, and continue to learn, as I progress through my career.
- If you do not have a good team, your results will suffer! Focus on your team - your teachers, staff, etc. If you do not operate as one unit, it is difficult to achieve any goal that you have set for yourself or your school. Trust your team, support your team, and love your team!!
- Do not micromanage your team! Poor leaders micromanage their teachers. Teachers, coaches, directors, sponsors are all hired to do a certain job. Share your expectations and let them lead their program or classroom.
- Do not blame your team! Take responsibility, but trust others to do their job. Never blame them, but ask yourself “What is my responsibility with this situation.”
- Brag on your team! Everyone loves compliments and to be told they are beneficial to your team. You do not have to be untruthful, but you should be sincere. A team that lifts others up, is a team that can accomplish many goals.
- Write “Thank You” notes or “Notes of Appreciation." The day before school started, I spent over 90 minutes writing over 50 individualized “Notes of Appreciation” to our teachers (see pic below), lunchroom staff, office staff, etc. These notes mean so much to so many!!