‘The new, old principal’

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/5/16

Kenneth Abbott, who served as principal of Walker High School for eight years, has been named as the school’s new interim principal.

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‘The new, old principal’

Posted

Kenneth Abbott, who served as principal of Walker High School for eight years, has been named as the school’s new interim principal.

In a special called meeting by the Jasper City Schools Board of Education on Monday, Abbott was approved as the new high school principal, effective in the fall of 2016.

Abbott is set to serve as interim principal for the 2016-17 school year, until a permanent replacement can be named. His nearly 30 years of educational experience — 21 of those in an administrative role — was factored into the decision for Abbott to lead Walker High School as students and faculty transition into a new facility in January 2017.

“I’ve moved into another new school mid-year in my career,” Abbott said. “I’ve made the transition one time, and I look forward to doing it again.”

Even though Abbott has been enjoying retirement, he says he felt like coming back home to his alma matter and getting the school on firm footing in the midst of change.

“I went to high school there, and I always considered that my school,” he said. “I’ve taken a tour of the [new] school, I saw what a great facility it was, and I would love to get everything set there and be able to turn it over to somebody. I know some of the teachers there. Some of them were my former students, and some of them are still there from when I was there. ... I think some of the parents will be some of my former students, so I think it will be a good blend. They’ll know me, and I’ll know them.”

Abbott graduated from Walker County High School in 1967 and later earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Alabama in 1972. In 1976, he received a master’s degree from Alabama State University in mental retardation, and shortly after earned a master’s degree and a AA certificate in educational leadership from the University of Alabama.

He began his educational career as a teacher at Partlow School from 1974-76, and Abbott’s first administrative position was as assistant principal at Pinson Elementary School in Jefferson County from 1976-79. Abbott continued his work in Jefferson County Schools for the next 10 years, first as acting principal of Bryan Elementary School from 1979-80.

He then went on to be principal of Springdale Elementary School, Leeds Junior High School and Hewitt-Trussville High School.

Abbott began his work for the Jasper City Schools system in 1989 at Walker High School, where he served as principal until 1997. After his departure from Walker High, he traveled to Mississippi and held principal positions at Southeast Lauderdale High School and Pascagoula High School.

Before retirement, he worked as a sales representative for Bill Miller School Photographers from 2003 to 2014.

Abbott currently lives in Foley, and will move to Jasper for the next school year with his wife, Connie. Married for 41 years, the couple has two sons, Neil and Elliot. “I look forward to it. ... I’m the new, old principal,” Abbott said with a laugh.

Dr. Ann Jackson, the superintendent of Jasper City Schools, said she is confident in the board’s decision to bring Abbott back to lead Walker High School.

“We are extremely excited to have Mr. Abbott back with us,” Jackson said. “We feel like he’s the person to help us with the transition into the new school. ... He’s certainly going to be an asset.”

Gary Boling has served as Walker High School’s principal since 2012 and will retire at the end of the current school year.