New ECHS principal welcomes challenges

Published 6:49 am Wednesday, August 1, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Carl Raley has taken over the reigns at Escambia County High School as principal.
Raley, an ECHS graduate, has been at the high school for seven years as a resource teacher, but when Kyle Ferguson resigned as principal and the Escambia County Board of Education could not find a qualified individual for the position, Raley stepped up to the challenge and was happy to do it.
"I'm very excited," Raley said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
It's not Raley's first stint in the halls of the Blue Devils. He enrolled at the high school in 1964 as a freshman and graduated in 1967.
"I think I'm the first principal of ECHS that graduated from ECHS," he said.
After graduating from high school Raley attended Livingston University for a year before joining the United States Navy. After the Navy, he attended Troy University where he received both a bachelor's and master's degree.
After school Raley taught at Huxford Elementary School for eight years, worked at United Bank for another eight years and went on to teach in the Baldwin County system for 13 years before coming back home to ECHS.
As a resource teacher, Raley mainly conducted teacher evaluations and math remediation.
"Last year we had a really successful year in math remediation," he said. "I'm really proud of those students."
Raley said ECHS is carrying on strong with the loss of Ferguson and assistant principal David McKinley, along with about 20 teachers. He said the reason people are leaving the school has nothing to do with the performance levels of the students, however. He also said Escambia County superintendent Billy Hines has done a great job throughout the transitional period.
"Our school is doing very well," he said. "Our school is socioeconomically deprived but is performing very high. These other systems and superintendents see that and they come after our people. City schools can pay more than we can. We have to go on what the state says, but a city system can offer more money. That's our problem, if we have a problem. We have great children and Mr. Hines is super to work for and he's helped us out every way he can. Anything he could do for us, he's done it."
Since taking on the position of principal, Raley has had his hands full with administrative work.
"A big headache in high school is scheduling and we are working on that," he said. "We've got some new things we're going to try. The solar building will be the freshmen center, it will house all of our freshmen. They'll have an independent break time and their own lunchtime. We're looking forward to football season, we have several new assistant coaches. The head girls basketball coach is also an English teacher and he requested we have a drama class and we'll have that."
Raley has signed a year contract as principal of ECHS.
"At the end of a year if everybody is happy, we'll renegotiate," Raley said.
Raley said he hopes to carry on the achievements ECHS has accumulated while in the leadership position of principal.
"I hope I can continue with the success we've had here," he said. "I know I've got the fire and the passion, I just hope I have the ability. I've had some good coaches along the way with all the principals I've had. My daddy was the principal over here at the trade school and I hope I can perform half as well as he did."

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