Quitman principals honored

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Quitman ISD’s six principals were recognized for their service to the district during the Oct. 8 school board meeting. October is national school principals month.

National Principals Month is celebrated in schools and communities across the country. Several states, including Texas, have recognized school principals in October with a resolution from the legislature, according to principalsmonth.org.

Superintendent Rhonda Turner acknowledged the experience and skills of elementary principal Mary Ann Nichols, elementary assistant principal Lance Morrow, junior high principal Chrystal Ballard, junior high assistant principal Todd Shackelford, high school principal Dana Hamrick and high school assistant principal David French.

“I think it’s very impressive when you look at these five and we’re missing one, Mr. Morrow. Between the six principals and assistant principals we have 154 years of public experience. And I think that is tremendous. One hundred and fifty-four years that seems quite old to me. And between the six of them they have 57 years of administration experience. I tell people all the time you can’t replace experience and I mean that,” Turner said. “When you’re in jobs and making decisions and doing what they need to do for their campuses and their kids, that experience that they have pays off in dividends because they make decisions and I can count on them every step of the way. I’m so proud of the job you’re doing.”

Prior to the school board meeting, Turner asked each of the principals in an e-mail why they do the work of being a school principal.

Nichols said she enjoys being able to make a difference in the students’ education.

“I believe this is a mission and not a job,” Nichols said.

Morrow responded that his love of education led him to the education field.

“I love doing this job simply because I love kids,” Morrow said. “I loved going to school as a youngster and I want kids to love coming to school and learning.”

Ballard enjoys the support from both inside and outside of the classroom.

“I was raised in a family of teachers. I love our community and its support of its town members. I love our staff and students at Quitman Junior High,” Ballard said. “I honestly can’t think of doing anything more worthwhile and fulfilling.”

Shackelford became interested in education through the influences of his father and grandmother.

“Neither of these were teachers in the school system, but my grandmother taught me a love of learning at a very early age. My dad coached me my whole life and taught me the importance of education on a daily basis,” Shackelford said. “I wanted to be able to teach the same values both in the classroom and in athletics to students who might not get outside of the school system.”

Hamrick explained how she couldn’t see herself doing anything else as a career.

“I truly can’t see myself doing anything else. I love my job,” Hamrick said. “It’s like no other job in the world and the reward is always the moments when kids get it.”

French wanted to have an impact on students like the one his teachers had on him.

“I got into the education field because I felt I owed a debt to the teachers and coaches who invested in me,” French said. “I also wanted to make a positive difference in young people’s lives.”

Turner emphasized her appreciation for the principals and gave them each a gift for their hard work.

“For me, these guys make my job so easy. They take the brunt of parents yelling and screaming. They nurture our kids. They love when they’re good. They love them when they’re not so good,” Turner said. “I appreciate everything you guys do for our schools, our kids and our office.”

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