Byrd would help high school soar

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

By By Adam Prestridge
Escambia County High School took another blow last week as Principal Harvey Means did not receive support from the school board for a three-year contract.
Contract negotiations for Means failed to receive a motion ending his stint at ECHS on May 31 after just two years.
This change comes in the midst of a head football coaching search that has had more twists and turns than a daytime soap opera. Last week, Means recommended a coach for hire, but it too failed to receive a motion. Now the process is starting over for a third time. Hopefully, three times will be a charm.
As for the principal search, Superintendent Billy Hines said it will begin at a later date because the board “has time” since Means’ two-year probationary contract does not expire until the end of the school year. Hopefully the board will be able to get it right the first time and not put the students at ECHS and its supporters through months of searches consisting of various search committees.
In fact, I personally do not believe a search committee is needed. It is not hard to find the person best suited to lead Escambia County High School to the next level. All Hines and the board members have to do is look a few miles down the road at Escambia County Middle School led by a true leader: Zickeyous Byrd.
Myself, the parents and supporters of the high school feel that enough is enough. The principal’s position at ECHS has become a revolving door that must stop. The school needs to be stripped down to the frame and rebuilt. Byrd is the right man for the job.
The proof is in the pudding.
Byrd took over as leader of the middle school in the nick of time. He rid it of teachers that were subpar, held each teacher accountable by posting their progress as educators and rebuilt the internal workings of the school. He implemented several new policies that at first outsiders thought were farfetched, but he made believers out of everyone later as he and his staff presented the statistics to prove his plan works with increased test scores across the board.
Byrd’s confidence in his work and ability to lead both his staff and students has earned him respect not only within the walls of ECMS, but all over the county. Having a title does not constitute a person as a leader. A leader is someone who is willing to do what is right, even if it means making a few people upset.
Byrd knows what is right for ECHS.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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