COVINGTON, Ga. - When Kristopher Williams accepted the role of principal at Alcovy High School, he made history as the first African American male to take on the leadership role at the school.
Williams believes his new leadership position will show that Alcovy is not afraid of change and is able to adhere to their diverse population.
“It is an honor and a privilege and a distinction that I do not take lightly. I will do everything within my power to succeed in this position,” Williams said. “ The school leadership reflects the demographics and population of the school. It also shows that the Newton County School System is not afraid to break the old patterns.”.
Williams has been apart of Alcovy for five years, where he has been an assistant principal and held various positions over the ninth grade Academy, 12th grade discipline, special education and coached three different sport teams.
According to U.S News and World Report's most recent statistics on high schools, Alcovy has 65% of minority students with African American students being the majority of that group by 54%.
While Williams is dedicated to providing leadership to all students he believes his presence as the first African American male principal will provide a great role model to the African American male students.
“I think that it will give them (the students) a person that they can relate to and confide in when necessary, and it will give them the opportunity to see the school led by someone that looks like them,” Williams said. “I have had these experiences in my past role of the ninth grade academy principal, the students knew that I was someone that understood them and that I would not judge. I would be open to assist them even when discipline and tough decisions had to be made.”
Williams plans for the future
Williams has expressed his expectations for students to not only succeed in the classroom but to also get involved in organizations and clubs. In order to achieve this success, Williams strives to initiate communication with the students to allow them to know the type of resources that are available.
“ I think sometimes they [the students] do not know that certain programs, certain clubs certain organizations are available here at the school,” Williams said.
Williams says students do better when they are involved in a sport or are involved in an organization, and it also keeps them [the students] out of trouble.
“If you have something to look forward to whether it's a game on Friday night, or if you know you’re apart of the band and you guys have a performance, these are incentives for you [the students] to want to do well in your classes,” Williams said. “Because in order to be a part of these clubs and organizations, you have to do well academically.''
Alcovy has an overall district rate of 46% for reading proficiency and 25% for proficiency in mathematics according to the most recent U.S News and World Report on high schools.
Williams said that he is aware of the scores.
“We have a new instructional coach in place,” Williams said. “We also have programs called high school transition which is an opportunity for students to firm up some areas”.
Students will attend a base class every Friday to understand what subjects and concepts they struggled with the past week. The third period of the following week, Monday-Thursday, students will meet with an assigned teacher to help them improve in certain areas of weakness.
“It gives them accountability and ownership of their work. Also, just making sure that we bring more rigor into the classroom.” Williams said. “Get off the level one and two questions and transition to the level three and four questions. To make the kids think critically, and to test their knowledge.”
Williams plans to overall set a high bar of expectations for students, and encourage them to take more pride in themselves as well as Alcovy High School.
“Do I feel that students give a 100% all the time, no, but we do want the kids to give a better and more concentrated effort,” Williams said. “I want them to do better, with them doing better here it will give them more chances to go on to do great things. I think really just setting that bar, setting those expectations for the students, usually if you set that bar and expectations high they’ll rise to that.”