In Nov. 11 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
Adair County native Thomas Reed, Russell County Middle School's new principal, is settling in to his new position at the school after several weeks as the head man.
"The district is just awesome," he said.
"I visited every school in the district so far in between employments and I'll tell you this district has grown a lot since I was around here 15 years ago."
Reed, who graduated from Adair County High School in 1995, said that Russell County's four elementary schools were beautiful and producing some very talented young students.
"The technology that is here at those schools, which is something we're going to start focusing on here, the principals have just done a fantastic job with it," he said. He said the libraries at those schools were top notch as well.
"The first thing I noticed (at RCMS) was that our technology needs are abundant," he said. "The library is in good shape but I also know that one of our goals, this school being a school that didn't meet yearly adequate progress in reading and writing in particular, the library is a good source for that."
When the new semester begins in January, one of Reed's goals is to update the library as needed to get it in line with other schools in the district.
He said he was looking to make improvements in the coming year.
"I love the staff here," he said. Reed acknowledged that every teacher he had spoken with at the middle school genuinely cared for the students there.
He also said he was amazed at how well the teachers and staff worked together at RCMS, noting that in many schools there is a lack of communication or trust issues between employees.
Reed, who was very involved at his previous school, said there was sometimes negativity among educators in the school but not here.
"That is the number one strength of this school," Reed said. "They all know that they are here for the kids and that is something I can work with."
He also said RCMS's students were very enthusiastic.
"They are a happy group," he said. "They love to introduce themselves to me."
Reed, 33, graduated from Georgetown College in late 1999. The day he turned his student teaching portfolio in he received a call from the Ninth Grade School in Scott County, interviewed and was offered and accepted a job as a physical science teacher.
He taught at that school from Jan. 3rd, 2000, to Oct. 20, 2010 and had numerous roles, including leadership and administrative duties once he had received his certification.
"I loved it there," he said. "I'm not going to lie but it was time to move on."
He received his first masters from Georgetown College and his other degrees are from the University of Kentucky.
He said he was postponing receiving his doctorate as he begins his new job but will soon finish it as well. Once completed, his dissertation will be in curriculum and instruction.
Reed said he has also worked as an online facilitator of professional development through the Kentucky Department of Education and will look to do summer sessions of that next year.
Working with children for most of his adult life, Reed has been a 4-H counselor in Jabez and Carlisle and also served as a YMCA counselor before getting into college.
Reed first applied for the RCMS job back this summer after searching online for principal positions in the state. In early October he found out he landed the job, despite not having any administrative experience on paper.
"I knew I could do it but I didn't know what other individuals would feel about me not having that assistant principalship," he said.
While he still owns a home in Georgetown, Reed is staying at his old home place in Adair County through the week, and traveling back to Scott County on the weekends until he finds a more permanent location here.
He also loves being close to both Green River Lake and Lake Cumberland, places he frequented many times while growing up in neighboring Adair County.
"It is a strong knit community," he said. "I look forward to establishing a leadership team that will work with me that is made up of teachers and some other individuals and decisions will be made … things are going to be a little different around here for a little while."