Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series profiling principals in the Elmore County School System.
Education is a team effort and Redland Elementary School principal Chad Walls credits his teachers with being key in making the overall vision of the school a reality.
“The goal is to make this place better,” Walls said. “I wanted to come in and continue the positive culture we have seen. The teachers here, they want to come here every day and they want to work.”
As principal, Walls said his first goal is to provide his teachers and staff with the resources they need to do their jobs. He also said showing his students and teachers respect is another key point in his leadership methods along with demonstrating how he is working to make good decisions for what he believes to be the right reasons for the school, his teachers and students.
“To achieve those goals, if you can’t get people to want to buy into what you’re doing, you’re not going to achieve any goal you set,” Walls said. “I think everyone is buying in to this.”
While Walls said scoring highly on the annual report card issued by the Alabama Department of Education and earning good grades on standardized tests are important goals to shoot for, he gauges much of the school’s success by carefully watching what happens every day on campus.
“We all want our test scores to be high but we want our teachers teaching and our learners learning in a safe environment,” Walls said. “Our teachers come here every day and do the best job they can do. They do a great job, every one of them.”
Walls said his teachers have worked to overcome some key issues, namely not having more technology and lacking enough space for instruction, to provide students the best education they can. For example, the school’s art, music and Spanish teachers have a way to transport their equipment around the school every day. Walls said teachers at all grade levels have worked hard to raise money and purchase technology devices such as Google Chromebooks.
After starting his career as a teacher in Montgomery 18 years ago, Walls came to Elmore County, serving first as a teacher at Stanhope Elmore High School. Following this, he served as an assistant principal at Airport Road Intermediate School, Stanhope Elmore, Coosada Elementary School and Eclectic Elementary School before being named principal of Redland Elementary.
“First, there was a sense of excitement, getting the chance to run a school,” Walls said. “I had always heard great things about Redland. It’s always exciting when somebody believes in you enough to give you this opportunity. I’m thankful and grateful for this position.”
Despite the issues the school faces, Walls believes the school is moving in the right direction.
“We just got a grant from ADEM for $58,000 to put in a walking track next to the school,” Walls said. “We will be holding a fundraiser for this in April. We wanted to do something for our older students, giving them a place they could go during P.E.”