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Harper is New Principal at ACIC
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(by Don Meador, May 2, 2022)


   A familiar face is the new principal at the Allen County Intermediate Center (ACIC). Lifelong Allen County resident Trey Harper started in his new leadership role this week---replacing Shawn Holland who retired at the end of April. 

 

  Harper is an Allen County-Scottsville High School and Western Kentucky University graduate. His educational background includes a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from WKU, a Masters in School Counseling from WKU, and a Rank I and principal’s certification through the University of the Cumberlands. 

 

   The new principal’s background in teaching and leadership includes four years as a first grade teacher with the Glasgow Independent School District. Harper transitioned to a school counselor’s role for nine years before coming to ACIC as assistant principal in 2019. Overall, Harper has 16 years of educational service. 

 

   Harper is looking forward to serving as principal at ACIC---but admits he has big shoes to fill.

 

   “It’s a daunting task because I am following such an incredible administrator,” Harper said. “Mr. Holland has done so many wonderful things in this building. He invested his time and implemented so many things which have gotten us to where we are. Yes, I have big shoes to fill but I feel I have a plan and a vision that will help us move forward. I believe there are a lot of things left to accomplish and I look forward to the opportunity.”

 

   Harper is quick to point out that the school may see some change under his leadership with much driven by changes underway across the Allen County School District.

 

   “I believe that change is best when it’s slow and steady,” Harper explained. “There will be some changes taking place but understand that those changes would have taken place if Mr. Holland was still the principal. I believe that with our District’s initiatives and some things coming down from the state, we are going to have the chance to do some incredible things at the Intermediate Center.”

 

   The new educational leader at ACIC is excited about what Project-Based Learning initiatives will bring to the table as well as ongoing work with continuing educational standards,  

 

   “We are looking at an emphasis on Project-Based Learning (PBL) which gives us the opportunity to make some real-world connections to the content and the standards the kids are expected to learn.” Harper noted. “This also allows for continuity across different classes. That is where the kids are learning something that connects reading to math, to science, to social studies, to music, to art. When all of that is cohesive it creates a greater depth of knowledge and a greater depth of learning. We are looking at a strong implementation of PBL. Outside of that, we have a lot of standards’ work that’s already happening. This drives what we do as a building. We want to make sure we are making the important things, the important things. We want to put first things first.”

 

   Putting first things first is one of the “Seven Habits” that has been instilled in students and staff as part of the Leader in Me program at the school. Under the leadership of Mr. Holland, ACIC launched the nationally acclaimed Leader in Me program for the students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Leader in Me has brought about many positive changes and helped the school develop student-leaders at each grade level. 

 

   “Our commitment to Leader in Me will continue,” Harper explained. “We have recently submitted our recertification for our Lighthouse school status. We look forward to having that recertification back in a few weeks. We believe that the whole child needs to be taught and needs to be nurtured here and we believe that Leader in Me is a great way to meet the social-emotional needs of our students at the Intermediate Center.” 

 

   Harper’s words to parents/guardians is simply a reminder that parents are a critical key in the educational process. 

 

   “I believe that parents are the experts on their child, they know their child better than anyone,” Harper pointed out. “I absolutely have an open door policy. I want to have conversations with parents if conversations need to happen. The more connection that happens between home and school, the more that kids understand that we are on the same team---that’s their team. The school working with the home and the home working with the school ensures that the child is receiving the education they need but also that the child is developing into the human being that they need to develop into. When they see that parents support the school and that the school supports parents, I believe that they start to have a comfort level that they cannot have if those two levels are conflicting. But when the child sees that we are all on the same page, it brings a level of comfort, a level of security, and it lets them know they have a lot of people in their corner that want to see them succeed.”

 

   As Harper starts his time as principal, he also is very quick to note the strength of ACIC.

 

   “I will tell you that the people in this building are the strengths of this school,” Harper said without hesitation. “Todd Whitaker is an author of a book that Mr. Holland suggested. In reading the book ‘What Great Principals Do Differently’, the author talks about something that Mr. Holland passed down to me---it’s not programs, it’s people. At the end of the day, the people are what makes this building the place that it is. It's the faculty and staff. It's the teachers. It's the cafeteria ladies. For example, the cafeteria ladies have instituted the Golden Spoon Award to recognize kids that are behaving and doing what they are supposed to do in the cafeteria. That’s an example of a group that is taking ownership of their part of the building. Our custodial staff takes great pride in the way this building looks and the way it is presented. Our assistants, our front office staff, and our teachers make this school a special place. To have the opportunity to be a part of that is really special. I believe that this school is remarkable and the people make it that way. The students are part of that in that they add their own unique perspective and they add their own learning. When you mix all of that together, the people are what make this special.”

 

   Harper officially assumed the principal’s chair on Monday, May 2. 

 

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