Powell: Community crucial

Published 12:40 am Friday, May 10, 2013

Community involvement is crucial in the success of a school system, said Donny Powell.

Powell, the Florala High School principal, addressed the school board Thursday. He was the fourth candidate for the Covington County School superintendent.

Powell said the county’s rural schools are “the life of the community.”

“It is essential to have the community involved because you have to know what the community expects that individual school to do, what they expect for their kids when they go to that school,” Powell said. “As superintendent, you need to know what all of our communities think.

“In education, I heard someone say if you stand in one place long enough, it will circle back around again,” he said. “When I was younger, people were more involved in school. Then, things went away from that. Now, the shift came back to where you’re trying to draw community back in.”

Powell said he always aspired to work in education.

“I never had any doubt,” he said. “I always had the idea that if I worked hard, that’s all it took to advance. My career, I’ve been fortunate in things. Now, I want to give back to this system because it’s given me the opportunities I’ve had.”

Powell said he believes there is two key components between a superintendent and the school board – trust and respect. He said he believed in working alongside faculty and staff, and when it comes to finances, “the buck stops with the superintendent.”

“Everything we do as a system, I think it needs to be based on needs of students,” he said. “Money is no different. As a teacher, you lead by example. I didn’t tell my students to do something I wouldn’t’ t do. As a principal, I’d never ask my staff to do something I wouldn’t do. I’ll roll my sleeves up and work right along side you. The same thing could be said if I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the next superintendent.”

Powell also said:

• On extra-curricular activities: “Those are the best tools in helping kids feel like they are a part of a school. And those are more than just sports. It’s a club; it’s band; it’s whatever. Extra-circular actives are essential.”

• On discipline, “It’s needed to learn. First of all, you have to be fair. You have to be consistent and then, respectful of the student.”