October is National Principals Month and A+ Education Partnership is recognizing a representative sample of our many great principals across Alabama. Watch for profiles all this month.
Dr. Jeremy Madden is an 18-year educator who became principal of Fayette High School in 2011. He attended the Russellville City Schools and graduated from Russellville High in the Class of 1993. After beginning college studies at Northwest-Shoals Community College, he transferred to the University of North Alabama where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. He’s since earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Administration from the University of Alabama.
How long have you been a principal?
I have been the Principal at Fayette County High School for the past eight years. Prior to this, I was an elementary teacher at Belgreen High School, Haleyville Elementary School, and Fayette County Elementary, where I became assistant principal. This is my 18th year in public education.
What are 2-3 insights you would share with others who want to become principals?
If you are not among the best teachers in your school, do not go into administration.
What keeps you up at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning?
The one thing that keeps me up at night are the students who I failed to reach in my job. The one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is trying to make FCHS the best high school in the state of Alabama. As a countywide school, we are forced to do more with less. This challenge is one I really enjoy because our students and teachers are among the best in the state. Our limitations do not have to define us!
What is your favorite leadership book (or books)?
Here are three that have been helpful to my growth as a leader:
- Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh
- School Leadership that Works by Robert Marzano, Timothy Waters, and Brian A. McNulty
- Whatever It Takes by Rick Defour, Rebecca Defour, Robert Eaker and Gayle Karhanek.
What are 2-3 essential skills that all leaders should possess?
- A Great Work Ethic
- Positive Attitude
In what ways do you network with other educators outside your school? How do you create opportunities for your own professional learning?
I make it a point to seek out the administrators at the top performing high schools in Alabama. I have visited these schools to see what they are doing that works so I can bring back a version of it to FCHS.
My advice to other school leaders is to send your administrative staff to different high performing schools at least once a year to get better ideas on how to improve things at your school.