Nichols: All about kids

Published 12:03 am Thursday, May 9, 2013

In question after question in his interview with the Covington County School Board Wednesday night, Craig Nichols kept coming back to one answer.

“We have to do what’s best for the kids.”

That was the bottom line for Nichols, who’s among the five finalists for superintendent, in questions ranging from discipline to extra-curricular activities to finances to curriculum.

Nichols said extra-curricular activities are important for students.

“You know, sometimes I think about whenever I go for one more softball game and one more four-night week of something every night,” Nichols said. “But , every event, every activity you can be at for the students lets them know how much you care about them. It lets parents know how much you care about them. It helps with community.”

Further, he said, athletics teach many life lessons.

“Playing athletics, there’s all kinds of things you learn Like don’t quit. Persevere.

“I like to win, but I do hold that there’s a lot more important things to be taught thru extra-curricular activities than just winning.”

He also believes students should learn from discipline.

“There shouldn’t be student discipline that a student doesn’t try to understand a lesson from it, even if I have to give them a paddling,” he said. “They need to learn what they can do to do better, why (what they did) hurt other people, why it hurt them.

“If they don’t understand, that’s what I try to do,” he said. “I did my kids that way. But you know what? The students of Covington County are my kids.”

Nichols said he thinks it is important for the community to be involved in the schools.

“Sometimes people think they’re not invited to come in,” he said. “When they do, I’m their host while they’re there.

“We can use things like our web site for our school. Letters, activities, calendars, open houses, parent teacher conferences, even IEP meetings are ways of involvements with parents.

“We need parent volunteers in the school, to open doors to so we have input on things going on,” he said.

He suggested that the system could develop

leadership teams of stakeholders to provide input into system goals, or could use surveys.

“That’s one of the hardest areas to kind of deal with in planning,” he said. “It’s hard to get that collaboration together with the community.”

Nichols, who grew up in Wing where his grandparents homesteaded in 1898, said he is the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

“I’m not a fancy person,” he said. “I am who I am. I’ve had a lot of experience and I hope I have a lot more in education. I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in, and it’s an honor for me to just sit here and interview for this position.

“If I am needed to serve, I’m here, and I’ll always give it the best I can,” he said.

Interviews resume this afternoon at 4:30 and 6:15 in the system’s central office.