Principal Greg Foster is a veteran administrator at Handley High School, and it is evident that he is passionate about his students’ success and safety. After getting to spend some time with Mr. Foster, you can hear his dedication to the school, the students, even the alums who make up the larger Handley family. Read on to learn more about Mr. Foster and the 2018-2019 school year.
Question: What has you most excited about for the upcoming school year?
Answer: The preparation and the professional development to prepare the students for the ACT. We have put a lot of time in the summer getting ready for this. All of the juniors have to take the ACT, but it doesn’t start with the juniors. Our professional development centers on this. We are excited about our plans and preparations.
Question: What is your favorite part of starting a new school year?
Answer: Having an opportunity to see the students. They grow tremendously over the summer, and to see all of the gains they have made. That is my most favorite part getting to see them and share with them. It is all about building relationships so that you can hopefully have an impact on their lives.
Question: How would you describe your school to someone from another town?
Answer: Family. We always talk about the Handley family. We support each other. We do what we need to do be successful. Even when they leave, we continue to be a support system. They continue to be a part of what we do, and we love to see what they are becoming.
Question: What about your school are you most proud of?
Answer: Our 96% graduate rate and college readiness rate. When students come into the 9th grade. They come in as a co-hort, and our goal is to get them from 9th-12th grade and graduating. This is the highest rate you can get, and we are 3 points above the state average. Coming from a small town with 57% poverty rate, and we are one of only 9 schools in the state to get this rate, and most of those are in the larger areas such as Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montgomery – and Coffee County. That is pretty remarkable.
Question: Who is the unsung hero of your school?
Answer: Kelli Hendon, our school counselor and testing coordinator. She seems very attune to our students. She is there for them. She know their transcripts, she knows the courses that they need to be in. She is constantly in conversations about their life goals. She is a role model for them and she goes far and beyond for our students.
Question: What is Friday Night Life like for your school?
Answer: Exciting. This is a time when the entire community – parents, community leaders, churches, student body, administrators, younger kids. Everyone comes together to cheer on the Handley Tigers. No matter what you are dealing with, you can put that aside for three hours and just enjoy win, lose, or draw. We want to win, but we always come together as a family, and it just bring happiness.
Question: What is your big goal for the 2018-2019 school year?
Answer: You hear a lot about things that are going on in schools – shootings, bullying, and our big goal is to continually create a safe environment for all of our students so they are able to learn. We have a new intercom system being installed, more safety features, changing door systems, check-in system, so that our students feel safe
Question: How can the community support you/the school in achieving this goal?
Answer: The community does. We receive the county sales tax. Our city council does a great job of supporting us financially, and we are able to fund these things to continue to create a safe environment. That is support is why we are able to do the things we do.
Question: If you could pick a theme song for your school, what would it be?
Answer: Roar – Katy Perry.
Question: Tell me something good. Something fun unexpected, or interesting that readers might know about your school.
Answer: We teach our kids to be proud. We tell them you don’t lose. Even at the end of the game no matter what the scores say, you don’t lose. You continue to fight, and we teach them to compete. That is the thing that our kids enjoy the most, and they don’t want to lose. They don’t care what it is. We believe in what we do. We are definitely creating an environment where students can be successful when they leave.
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