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EA headmaster settles in

By By Janet Little Cooper
Escambia Academy students returned to school Friday for a half day and will begin the 2006-2007 school year full swing Monday morning.
One of the largest changes students and parents will face as they enter into the new year will be the change of leadership.
Leon Hartley, of Brewton, was hired over the summer months to fill the void as EA Headmaster.
Hartley, who is a retired teacher and administrator with the Escambia County, Ala., public school system, brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm with him to the Academy.
"I taught high school math and was a principal at North Brewton Elementary and then again at W.S. Neal Elementary until I retired in August of 2004 after 35 years."
Hartley wanted to take a couple of years off to spend time with his two grandchildren and take time to invest in several hobbies of his such as woodworking and automotive work.
"The idea was to take a couple of years off and then get back into something associated with education," Hartley said. "Last year I did do some substitute teaching in Brewton and that renewed my appetite for the school system once again. Then this position at EA came along at the right time."
Hartley already has a month at the Academy under his belt and is extremely proud and excited to be a part of the EA family.
""Everyone I have met has been great," Hartley said. "The people here are friendly and very helpful. There is a tremendous amount of parental involvement here and we have a great group of teachers to work with."
Before coming to the Academy, Hartley never has been involved with a private school. He has learned that some things are different, but that for the most part there are a lot of similarities with the public system.
Hartley is impressed with the overall scores from the student body.
"They have excellent scores here," Hartley said. "The Academy has done very well academically. I want to continue to excel in the academic growth. I have high expectations for the students at EA and the school as a whole. Students that I have met so far have been impressive."
Students will not only see a new face in administration, but also in the classroom as EA welcomes seven new teachers this year.
"Among the changes this year, we will be implementing a organized writing curriculum for each grade level K- 12 that is specific to each level," Hartley said. "The school also plans to begin use of a new computer program, or student tracking program, that will chart attendance, grades and print report cards electronically. We are also trying to expand the curriculum to offer students more opportunities for electives."
Hartley has been busy talking with staff members, in an effort to get a feel for the school and new ideas about areas they want to address in the school.
"My biggest challenge here is trying to coordinate the two departments, elementary, located across the street and the high school," Hartley said. "We are working together now to find a way to do that."