For those of you who don’t know, Forbush got a new principal over the summer, with Mr. Robert Kennedy stepping in as the principal of FHS. Mr. Kennedy is entering his fifth year as a principal, having spent two as an assistant principal at South Stokes High School, and two years as the principal at Nancy Reynolds Elementary, also in Stokes County.
Why be a principal? Why Forbush?
When asked why he wanted to become a teacher and then a principal, Mr, Kennedy gave some credit to his high school role models. He said that “Some of his best role models were teachers,” and that was part of the reason why he wanted to become a teacher. However, Mr Kennedy said he didn’t know when he started college that he wanted to be a principal, but during his last years of college, he realized he had an interest in educational leadership and policy, and wanted to become a principal. As for one reason why he chose Forbush, Mr. Kennedy credited his previous working relationship with the superintendent of Yadkin County Schools, Dr. Martin, back when he was assistant superintendent of Stokes County Schools. Based off of that relationship, Mr. Kennedy knew he would “have a supportive administration” thanks to Dr. Martin, and the good things he had heard about Dr. Cox. Also, he said that he was very happy at his old school, but his desire to be a high school principal, and the good reviews he had been given about Forbush, made him think it was the right time to make the move.
The responsibility of a principal.
Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word principal? Leader? Disciplinarian? Try supporter. Mr Kennedy said he views his main role as principal as to “support teachers and students” because without students, “there wouldn’t be a school.” He wants students to have a successful environment to learn in, and above all that they have a good experience as a student at Forbush. For the teacher aspect, he wants to makes sure that he has an organized structure in place, to make it as easy as possible for teachers. To sum it up, his goal is to do anything to create an environment where “teachers can focus on teaching, and kids can focus on learning.”
Communication in the social media age.
One of the big keys to that environment above is communication. You may have noticed the bigger emphasis on Twitter and Facebook as modes of mass communication. Mr. Kennedy said since most students are using Twitter a lot, and most parents are using Facebook, using these are very helpful when sending out announcements. Mr. Kennedy wants to use these platforms to show off the cool things at Forbush that people might not see.
Fostering positive relationships.
Let’s face it. You learn better, when you and your teacher are on the same page. The key to making sure you’re on the same page, is maintaining a positive student-teacher relationship. On making positive relationships, Mr. Kennedy said that the one of the biggest things is good morale. Mr. Kennedy wants teachers to focus on teaching rather than paperwork and administrative duties in order to maintain a high teaching morale. To him, if students and teachers are “worried or stressing about paperwork” or small things like that, makes it harder to focus on the important things. Another key to that, according to Mr. Kennedy, is for him, and Mrs. Dinkins and Mrs. Roscoe, to be in the classroom as much as possible. To him, trying to be there and be visible, is one way of allowing kids to “know that I value what is going on and what they’re doing.” He says that teachers have told him that they like seeing administration in their classrooms because it “tells them and shows them, and kids that we care about what their doing and learning”.
Technology and the future ahead.
When asked about what role technology will play in both the future of FHS and education in general, Mr. Kennedy acknowledged the trend toward using more technology in schools, and sees the trend growing, because students always have technology with them. To him, technology will never go away, so we need to “harness it for the right purpose,” and we don’t need to “use technology, just to use technology.” Mr. Kennedy gave credit to the FHS teachers for being willing to grow and embrace technology, and said that as long as the teachers and kids are still willing to grow, then Forbush will be fine and continue to make progress.
The one common theme in Mr. Kennedy’s answers was that he was committed to making sure that he could do everything in his power to make sure that both teachers and students succeed in whatever they strive to achieve. Whether it be through investigating new technology, or being there to answer questions, Mr. Kennedy is committed to seeing Forbush High School succeed.
Wesley Warden is a senior at FHS and YCS Virtual Academy of Journalism.