Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Principal: I'm here for a reason
- 2013 - 961 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- September 26th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- September 25th, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- September 24th, 2009 (Thursday) - 27 articles
- September 23rd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- September 19th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- September 18th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- September 17th, 2009 (Thursday) - 19 articles
- September 16th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- September 15th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- September 10th, 2009 (Thursday) - 31 articles
- September 9th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- September 6th, 2009 (Sunday) - 3 articles
- September 3rd, 2009 (Thursday) - 30 articles
- September 2nd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- September 1st, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Principal: I'm here for a reason|
There's a perception in the community that Ouachita Parish Alternative Center is full of students who've been kicked out of other schools.
That's a misconception principal Anthony Killian plans on changing.
Killian comes to OPAC from Richwood High School where he was principal for four years. The 2009-2010 school year is his first at OPAC.
When he told one of his friends he was starting his new job at OPAC, his friend wanted to know what he had done wrong. Killian's friend thought Killian had run afoul with someone in a decision-making position at Ouachita Parish Schools for him to be moved to OPAC.
That was not the case, Killian told his friend. He wanted the OPAC job.
Besides the perception that only expelled students attend OPAC, there's another misconception often shared about OPAC — it's a place no teacher or administrator wants to work.
"We have a great staff with teachers who care, and right now, my main thing is we're trying to change the image," Killian said.
He said the best way to change people's perception about OPAC is through word of mouth.
"I told my teachers the other day during our faculty meeting that word of mouth is a powerful thing," Killian said. "If you enjoy what you are doing and you go out and you speak positively about it, then people will start to change their mindset."
"People have to realize that the students here at the alternative center are part of our society," Killian continued. "We tend to forget that these students come from all the middle and high schools in Ouachita Parish.
"I don't look at it like some people do. Some look at it as an expulsion school where the bad kids go. We have students here who are getting their GED, students who are getting skilled certificates and students who will walk into the workplace with a certificate in their hand saying they are certified to work at these different plants around here."
Currently OPAC has very few students enrolled who were expelled from other schools, Killian said. Roughly 20 of the 180 students enrolled today at OPAC were expelled, he said. Other students opted to attend OPAC because they wanted a different option than the typical high school setting.
"We have a waiting list now of kids trying to get into our GED program," Killian explained. "The bulk of our kids are option students who are opting out of the diploma and getting their GED. They're coming here for a half a day and they take their science, math, reading, English and then leave and go to vo-tech to take up a trade. They're doing plumbing apprenticeship, electrical and carpentry work and welding. These are kids who are trying to get out in the workforce and get their GED in the process.
"Every child who comes into our school system is not going to go to college, and we have to realize that. These kids are focused on what they're supposed to be doing. They're focused on getting their GED, getting out of here and going to work.
"As far as them causing problems, it's very few problems as far as discipline. Of course, like every school, we have our problems, but everybody needs to remember that these students are not OPAC students; they are Ouachita Parish School System students. I hate the negative, stereotypical view these kids get."
Killian dealt with the same negative attitude toward Richwood High School.
"All you heard about was them walking up and down the halls cussing teachers and fighting," Killian said. "That couldn't be farther from the truth, and I was one who believed that. That's what I thought, too, until I went down there and saw for myself."
He said he is thrilled to be the new principal of OPAC, which is now allowing him to spend more time with his family.
Being a high school principal is grueling, Killian said, and he was tired of not being around to see his son and daughter grow up.
At a high school, principals arrive at school before the students. Add extra-curricular activities that principals are expected to attend such as sports games, and they may not get home until after dark.
During away games, Killian sometimes didn't return home until after midnight.
"That didn't fare well with me because I've got a 3 year old and a 5 year old, and this was one of the biggest reasons for my decision … my kids," he said. "I didn't grow up with a father in my home, and I think it's a slap in the face when people tell you that you can't make it if you don't have a male in the home. But, I want to be that father figure … I want to be there for my kids. So, this has been in the making for a couple of years."
Killian began his teaching and coaching career at Riser School in 1990. He was assistant principal at West Monroe High School for several years. Killian opened Good Hope Middle School in 2002 as its principal and later moved on to Richwood High School.
"I was actually asked to go to Richwood High School, and the first time I was asked, I said, 'No, that's not something I want to do,'" he said. "The next year it came up again and I said I was ready for it."
"It was probably the hardest job I've had, but really the most rewarding," he added.
When Killian took over as Richwood High School's principal, it was a school of choice, which meant because Richwood had an unacceptable level of school performance scores, students could opt to attend another school.
"At that time, it was Ouachita High School, so they had the choice to stay at Richwood or go to Ouachita, and a lot of them left," Killian said.
The first year under Killian's direction, Richwood was removed as a school of choice. It has been free of that status ever since.
"We thank God for that … that's who did it," Killian said. "It was nobody but the Lord. A lot of praying went on over there. It was a rewarding experience, though. There were some kids who - I hate to say - I didn't think would graduate, but I watched them walk across that stage."
He said there is no greater feeling than to see students succeed. He was determined to build relationships with his students at Richwood to show them there are people who care for them.
That's his goal at OPAC. He wants students to achieve in every walk of life, and he plans on being there to help them along the way.
"I tell our kids that they are not a mistake," Killian said. "God didn't make any mistakes … they are here for a reason, and the sooner they figure that out and live like that, their life will change.
"I'm here for a reason. Every teacher at this school is here for a reason, and I'm going to try to make it as positive as I can, and I hope some of my positiveness will rub off on the teachers and the students."