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Evers returns home for new role with county schools

John Evers wants to offer a helping hand to struggling students in his new role as the intervention supervisor for Covington County Schools.

As a leader in education, this is not Evers’ first administrative role. He was the principal at Straughn High School before taking on a similar position at Mobile Christian. “After that job, I wanted to come back home to Andalusia. There was a really strong pull to get back into coaching track and cross country here at Straughn. I spoke with (Superintendent) Mr. (Shannon) Driver about some opportunities, and he discussed this intervention position with me. I looked at it and felt it was right up my alley. I’ll be working with schools most of the time,” he said.

He will also be the school system’s safety coordinator. Evers stated everything works out well with his coaching schedule. “It was very attractive to me that I could work as an administrator and coach as well.”

Although Evers enjoyed being a principal, he wanted to take on a larger role. He said, “This one has all the benefits of being a school principal. When you’re in school, you’re helping with instruction. I like being in different schools and seeing the different ways things are done. It will be a learning opportunity for me after 33 years because there is still a lot I can learn. I like being at different locations and meeting all the principals and teachers.”

He is honored to build relationships with students. “I’ve never really had a student I couldn’t build a relationship with, and I pride myself on being a relationship person. I felt like my gift was being a people person and dealing with young individuals. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else honestly.”

Evers explained the program’s main focus is to make up for learning loss due to the pandemic. He said, “When students chose virtual learning instead of in-school instruction, there was a little bit of a gap. We’re trying to address those gaps and help students get back on the grade level they need to be. If they’re a grade level behind, this gives us an opportunity to focus on those who are struggling.”

He also pointed out Alabama’s new literacy law that went into effect this school year. “Students have to pass a portion of an assessment in order to be promoted. We want to make sure these kids are ready for that assessment as well.”

His 33-year career in education began as a physical education teacher upon graduation from Troy. After taking a kinesiology course, his professor felt he should pursue sciences. “I got in touch with another professor and began taking chemistry, physics, and biology. The next thing you know, I’m a science major. I knew I wanted to teach and coach,” Evers said. His journey took him to Bainbridge, Georgia and Pike County in Alabama. He added, “Luckily, I was able to retire from my alma mater at Straughn.”

Evers hopes for normalcy for students in the 2021-2022 school year. “Each day, the kids wonder if we are going to be in school tomorrow, the next day, or even the next week. I want to have that consistency, where it can be as normal as a typical school year,” he said.

His primary responsibility is to get intervention teachers in place for math and reading. He said, “I will go out and work with those teachers to assist them and provide whatever they need. I will do some observation and give them guidance on how they can improve in those areas. In that aspect, I will be overseeing the program. The teachers are of course the difference-maker whether the program is effective or not.” Evers said each school has a safety plan that fits their school. “We will have a centralized plan here at the central office and be a resource or assistant to them.”

Evers will also serve as the head coach for Straughn’s cross country and track and field program. He said he embraces coaching athletes and helping them in their journey. “I love it and ran track when I was in school at Straughn back in the day. When we re-established the program several years ago, my children were involved. It’s my favorite sport to coach even more than football,” he said.

He is happy to be home and have the chance to build the track program. He stated, “Coach (Stephen) Bowen and Ramona Thomas did a great job out there, and I want to pick it up where they had it. Having the new facility has been wonderful. There is certainly excitement about track and field in this area.”

He is married to Astrid Evers, and they have two sons: Chris and Caleb. “Astrid retired after 28 years in education but is going to help with some intervention teaching. Chris is in his fourth year as a medical student and getting ready to finish up. Caleb graduated with a Civil Engineering degree at Auburn. He is working with the Christian Student Center in Auburn right now. They have found their paths with Chris in medicine and Caleb in ministry.”

Evers also said there will be a Zombie Run on Oct. 30 at the cross country trail. “It will be a neat and different 5K. I’ll get more details and pass those along closer to the time. For more information e-mail john.evers@cov.k12.al.us or call the Covington County Board of Education at 334-222-7571.

“When you call, just ask for me. I’m usually out and about, but they will get a message to me if they need me. We’re here to help these young people out with these programs. We’re always looking out for community support. We want to encourage more participation in the cross country and track programs,” he said.