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New principal Rachael Adams was in Bedford on Tuesday to meet the faculty and staff, as well as other district administrators for lunch.
Adams comes to TCHS after serving as assistant principal at Edmonson County High School in Brownsville, Ky., where she was in charge of curriculum and instruction. Previously, she taught biology, anatomy, physiology, zoology and other science classes at Greenwood High School in Bowling Green, Ky.
Originally from Henderson County, Adams said Tuesday morning that early in her career she never wanted to be a school administrator.
But working at GHS, a school that was ranked No. 13 in Kentucky this year by U.S. News and World Report, she found herself studying why some schools are successful and others are less so.
“Plainly, it was leadership,” she said. Over the years, she realized her own leadership potential and moved from teaching into administration.
“It was almost kind of like a calling,” she said. “I discovered I have the ability to make a difference, and I feel morally obligated to do so.”
As a teacher, she knew she could make a difference in students’ lives individually. But as an administrator, she realized she could make a difference in education, in general.
Adams said she supports recent educational reforms put into place in Kentucky, which include a focus on not just preparing students for college but also for careers.
Using the ACT to assess student achievement is a step in the right direction, as is the mandate that a student’s coursework and end-of-course exam scores count for 20 percent of their grades.
“This is the first time in education reform in Kentucky that students are accountable,” Adams said. That was lacking under the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System implemented by the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act.
Adams describes herself as someone who works hard and can be an over-achiever.
In previous positions, she was the district-level technology teacher, whose classroom was a model for the district. She was an adviser for student robotics teams and formed an international student travel and cultural club. Through grants, she also instituted an environmental education program, including an outdoor classroom and the start up of a Youth Environmental Leadership Program – YELP. Those students implemented a schoolwide recycling program.
“I’m passionate about teaching and learning,” she said. “I do whatever I do well, and hope to make a difference in education. ... I have high expectations. I’m the type of person, I have ideas, but I get them down and get things accopmlished.”
One achievement was raising GHS from a state ranking of 217 out of 225 high schools to No. 51 in one year. “I look forward to doing the best job here that I possibly can do.”