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Changes made to improve McKenzie School

McKenzie School is often called the heart of the little south Butler County community.

As far as McKenzie Principal Randy Williams is concerned, that’s just the way it should be.

&uot;People in this community really do rally around this school. We are open to the community for special events, such as benefits to help people with special medical needs. We are here to serve the community as a whole,&uot; Williams explains.

After serving four years as a science teacher at Greenville High and three years as a principal in Repton, Williams is about to enter his seventh year as principal of McKenzie School, which serves approximately 350 students, K-4 through 12th grade, all under one roof.

As he looks ahead to the 2005-2006 school year, Williams also looks back with pride at some of the improvements that have occurred during his time at the helm of McKenzie School.

He considers bringing the K-4 program to the school one of the &uot;major accomplishments&uot; of his administration.

&uot;We have an outstanding teacher and instructional aide for our K-4 program. This was the first program of its kind in the south end of the county, and it’s been a wonderful success. We are about to enter our third year and we have a two-year waiting list,&uot; Williams says.

He also commends the McKenzie School PTA for its active support. He is quick to take visitors to see the school’s gleaming new blue and yellow playground equipment, provided courtesy of the PTA.

&uot;We got this playground close to the end of the last school year. The PTA members started assembling it early one Saturday morning and had it finished by the afternoon. When the kids came back to school on Monday – well, you should have seen those excited faces,&uot; Williams says with a grin. He says the PTA will add three additional items, including a merry-go-round, to the playground this school year.

The principal also lauds the McKenzie School’s Quarterback Club for their efforts at the school.

On Tuesday morning, the club’s vice-president, Greg Griffin, was found hard at work dismantling the football field bleachers.

&uot;We are going to have Evergreen Concrete come in and pour a concrete slab to go under where the bleachers will sit – another facility improvement we are making,&uot; Williams points out.

Other changes at the school in the coming year, Williams says, include three new teachers and, for the first time, an assistant principal for the school.

&uot;I feel adding an assistant principal will be a plus for us, both academically and in terms of administrative duties,&uot; he says.

Williams says he is proud of a staff and support personnel &uot;who are willing to work hard in an atmosphere where accountability is number one.&uot;

Accountability is an issue very important to McKenzie School, the principal says.

&uot;Our school is unique in the county because we give every test out there required by the State Department. We are ‘under the gun,’ so to speak, for testing accountability,&uot; he explains.

When he shares his goals with his staff in the coming days, Williams plans to touch on these areas:

* The goal of a 100 percent graduation rate

* The goal of 100 percent of third graders reading at grade level

* The goal to achieve all requirements of &uot;No Child Left Behind&uot;

* The goal to continue to be a positive force in the community

Williams say he also hopes to make his school a part of the Alabama Reading Initiative in the future. &uot;We are in the process of having our people attend professional development courses necessary for us to become an ARI school,&uot; he says.

As for the implementation of the new uniform dress code, the McKenzie principal says he certain all will go smoothly.

&uot;I feel our parents and community have been more than adequately informed about the uniforms. If someone shows up and says, &uot;I didn’t know,&uot; I am not buying it,&uot; Williams laughs, adding, &uot;I think the uniforms are a good policy this board has put into place, and so far, the community’s reception to the new policy has been very good.&uot;

The principal of the &uot;heart of McKenzie&uot; says he is anticipating another great year at his school.

&uot;I am looking forward to the kids coming back, ready to learn,&uot; he says.