Value-Added Achievement Awards, 2009First Place, East Division, K-8/Middle Schools

Jim Kirk, Jr., Principal
1325 Springbrook Road
Alcoa, TN 37701
Alcoa Schools

Recipe For Success:

I have been told many times that teachers need to put their arms around the test data and embrace this to increase test scores. I agree! There is so much data that can be used to identify student needs.

I firmly believe that it is so important for an administrator to put his arms around his faculty and build relationships that enable all in a school to work together as a team. In the same way teachers will put their arms around their students and build relationships with them. Relationship building is one of the most important things we can do. When we have school, community, students, and parents all working together for a common goal success is inevitable.

John C. Maxwell, in his book The Right To Lead, gives seven characteristics of the kind of leaders others want to follow. They are:

  1. Let go of your ego
  2. Become a good follower first
  3. Build positive relationships
  4. Work with excellence
  5. Rely on Discipline, not emotion
  6. Make adding value your goal
  7. Give your power away

These are seven things I live by in my leadership role. Leadership is important no matter who you are or where you lead. Even in a pack of dogs, the one who stays in front has to earn the right to lead. I believe I must earn the respect of my constituents in order to be a successful leader. Leaders are people of action who have their priorities in line. As a leader I believe you must not ask others to do that which you are not willing to do yourself.

My school is successful and continues to be successful not because of me, but because it is filled with leaders who can work together as a team. They move together in the same direction for a common goal. I truly believe my success has been relationship building and giving power to those that do the work. I have the time to find ways to recognize excellence in my faculty because I know they are taking care of each child. A pat on the back or a small recognition goes a long way. I try to give my faculty what I expect them to give to our kids. Even with a very diverse population, our school has found great success following this philosophy.