By Sheila Albrecht
A new school year is always exciting and the John Glenn Middle School is especially looking forward to the 2012-2013 school year under the stewardship of new principal, Kevin Tracey. Tracey, already known to the Bedford community for his years as assistant principal at Bedford High School, was welcomed as the new principal of the John Glenn Middle School early this summer.
The newly appointed principal is well regarded for his accomplishments at the High School, and the JGMS staff and students eagerly anticipate his impact on the Middle School program. He comments that the transition months of summer “were a wonderful opportunity to meet with teachers, staff, parents, community members and students to listen to feedback and to have them share their expertise and working knowledge of the school. I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome.”
A strong emerging theme that has become apparent from Tracey’s interactions with various members of the JGMS community “is that the greatest strength of the John Glenn Middle School lies in its supportive, dedicated and caring teachers and staff, who work tirelessly on a daily basis in the best interest of kids.”
He further states, “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a part of this team and to continue to work within a community that I have grown to love, and I look forward to a fantastic year.”
When asked what type of personal imprint he might put on the Middle School, Tracey responded. “I think I may have a better answer to this question come next summer. We all come to leadership positions with our own “style” and in turn, we need to match that style with the existing school culture. Thankfully, I have been working in the district for the past six years and have become very familiar with the high expectations we in Bedford have for all students to be challenged and to succeed.
“As an educational leader, I value open and transparent communication, collaboration, thoughtful planning and making sure that every decision on how we operate as a school must be able to answer the question, ’Is this best for kids and learning?’. I recognize that we may not be able to offer everything to everyone; however, I am resolute in my commitment to equity when it comes to learning opportunities and student achievement. I am passionate about teaching and learning and hope for every child to feel safe and to feel that they belong to our school community.”
Tracey cautiously shared a few thoughts on his long-term vision for the John Glenn Middle School. In his words, “My primary charge for this upcoming year will be to continue with my entry plan, with a focus on building relationships with the students, staff and the entire JGMS community.
“In addition, I intend to continue to observe, listen, reflect, and work collaboratively to lead the school through our current initiatives and evaluate the school’s strengths and needs. During the summer, the district leadership team was at work preparing for the implementation of the ’new evaluation system,’ and we will be spending a good amount of time in the early part of this year familiarizing ourselves with this new process. I am very, very excited to observe and to help guide the school’s on-going progress on the following district- and school-wide initiatives: creating common and/or equivalent assessments across all grade levels and disciplines; collaboratively looking at student work to inform our instruction and curriculum development; and, most importantly, promoting our shared belief that what makes our school great is what occurs within the walls of our classrooms.
“From the feedback I received from fellow administrators, parents, teachers and staff, this belief is embodied through our commitment to best teaching practices, such as promoting active student learning, problem-solving and critical thinking, creativity, inter- and intra-personal reflection, effective communication, reading and literacy strategies and collaboration across all grades and levels. I firmly believe that great teaching takes time, is always evolving, and needs to be supported by the administration. With this focus on instruction and student learning, we will continue to offer the best opportunities and learning experiences for all students to be successful and to be well prepared to meet any challenge.”
Tracey ended our interview with a sincere welcome to the parent community. He feels that there is great value in partnering with the parent community and encourages them to be active participants in their child’s education. Additionally, he urges parents to be proactive in communicating with him and his administrative team, counselors and teachers, and, as time allows, to volunteer in the various Middle School programs and events. He states “by us all working together, we will ensure success for every child.”