County bids farewell to treasured teacher

Published 4:22 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This week, Crenshaw County said farewell to a well-loved and respected member of its community, Jim Head, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 75.

Head has served in many capacities during his time in Crenshaw County, whether in the role of principal, music minister, choir director or encourager, and the impact he made on the community can be easily seen in the lives of those he left behind.

Head had many opportunities around the state to serve as an educator, and in Crenshaw County alone, he also wore a variety of hats.

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From 1966-1971, he served as the music teacher at Luverne High School. From 1983-1989, he served as the principal at Brantley High School. After this, he transferred back to LHS and served from 1989-1999 as the principal.

After retiring for a short time, Head felt the call to come back into the role of educator. It was then that he took up the call to be the music and choir instructor for the Crenshaw County Fine Arts Program in 2013.

“He retired, but he loved kids so much. He never stepped away from public school because of the kids. It had nothing to do with wanting to continue to work, it was just all about the children,” said Superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools Boyd English. “He was there for any child; it wasn’t just specific ones. He loved children and he loved Crenshaw County.”

Kathryn Tomlin, director of the Luverne Public Library, has worked closely with Head over the past few years with their annual dinner theater, and she remembers the drive and determination he and his wife brought to each rehearsal and performance.

“This year, the play, ‘Gateway Passages, glimpses of life at Gate A-19,’ was written by Jim’s wife, Anne. Jim was so proud of Anne’s ability to write plays, and together they formed a creative team that was amazing,” said Tomlin.

“He pulled in so many talented people to perform this year, including several students. Jim had the ability to spot talent in young people, help them develop those talents and to encourage them in using their talents. The community has lost a great patron of the arts, and countless students have lost a mentor. He will be missed by us all.”

Pastor Bob Yawn is going on his fourth year as the pastor for the Luverne United Methodist Church, and cannot remember a time when Head was not serving as the music minister.

“Jim has been the music director here for as long as I can remember. He has touched many with his God-given talent of music and fine arts,” said Yawn.

“He knew where his salvation came from. He knew that the gift of music and being able to direct and teach people in fine arts came from God. And if he was going to be allowed to make a living with it that, then he was going to use that gift to bring honor and glory to God. He was giving back to God with the talents, and to me that is so Biblical.”

Emily Sims, 10th grade student at Brantley High School, has had the opportunity to work with Head and his wife since the fourth grade. In her time learning from the Heads, Sims believes that she has not only grown as a performer, but also as an individual. The teachings offered by the Heads were not just to improve musicality, but also to encourage maturity and growth in the personal lives of the students.

“They both had a way of connecting with kids. They didn’t treat kids like kids, they treated them like they had a responsibility. They put hope in them,” said Sims.

“He would find the talent in everybody. He would find a special light in you that you never knew you had. He was an absolute inspiration to everybody he came in contact with. He was like a best friend to all of us.”

In her seventh grade year, she began taking choir with Head, and her love for the fine arts grew exponentially. Throughout her time with Head, Sims discovered more about her singing and dancing talents, and was continually encouraged by Head to keep pursuing bigger and better dreams.

“He gave you just enough drive to be better than what you were yesterday. He was 75 going on 16,” said Sims.

Sims can even remember the impact Head would have on the atmosphere when he entered a room. According to Sims, the entire demeanor of the room would alter when Head stepped into the room, whether he meant it to or not, and the impact was powerful on his students.

“He just loved so big, and we’re going to miss him so much,” said Sims.

“It will take some getting used to, but he would want us to continue on. He always told me, no matter what, the show goes on. So, I think that will be something that I live by from now on, the show goes on.”