FOLEY – Doctor Michelle Moore has moved from Etowah County, Alabama to take over as the new Foley Elementary School Principal for the 18/19 year, bringing with her new ideas and visions on where …
FOLEY – Doctor Michelle Moore has moved from Etowah County, Alabama to take over as the new Foley Elementary School Principal for the 18/19 year, bringing with her new ideas and visions on where she would like to see the school go.
Moore is starting her twenty-seventh year working in education, and has worked ten years in administration. Her prior years were spent as a teacher in elementary classrooms in Etowah County. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, then earned her Master’s, EdS, and doctorate from the University of Alabama.
“My husband and I have five sons, and our boys are older now,” Moore said. “We have one 16-year old and then my oldest is 30, with three in between. They’re all adults except the 16-year-old, and they’ve all graduated college except one. One of the things we thought was that unfortunately, Etowah doesn’t have the growth that Baldwin County does, and because of that there’s not job opportunities for our own children. So we decided as we get close to maybe one day being able to retire that this is a fabulous place to be and hopefully our boys may choose to come and settle in Baldwin too.”
Moore had previously visited the Gulf Coast numerous times, for both business and pleasure. She came during her time working in administration for class conferences, as well as vacationing with her family to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
“Every time I would come I would think ‘why don’t I just move here?’” Moore said. “As the opportunity came with my boys getting older, I just felt like it was the perfect timing.”
She and her family moved to the area in June, and she is now hard at work as the principal of the Elementary School looking at both present and future opportunities that she would like to implement.
“I believe that education should be hands-on,” said Moore. “We need to educate students to be able to be in real world experiences. I always say that we’re not keepers of museums, we should be on the cutting edge of technology, math, science, and engineering, preparing our students to be able to survive in the real world.”
Moore stated that many educators have the ideas but not the resources to implement them, but as Foley Elementary is a Title I school, she’s hoping to bring new additions sooner rather than later. She’s looking to invest title money into a parent/teacher resource room, filled with tons of activities that not only teachers but parents as well are able to use to teach children.
“A lot of parents may not know how to help their child, but they know how to play a game with their child,” said Moore. “It’s great to get that family time in and do it through learning.”
Another of Moore’s plans is to get a science lab operating in the school, especially with the addition of a 5th and 6th grade that will be coming during the 19/20 school year once the new Foley Elementary is in operation.
“I feel like it’s really important for us to start getting that science lab together so when those students become part of Foley Elementary School, we’re able to provide more science lab opportunities for those year three, four, five, and six students,” Moore said.
One of the biggest additions Moore is hoping to make is to add more virtual reality learning experiences in the classrooms, including VR headsets for the students, engaging students through technology.
“It’s so important to meet kids where they are, because if you have students who are out in everyday life and they have all these gadgets in their hands, being engrossed in high-energy attention, and then you come into schools and you teach them more traditionally, they don’t learn as well,” Moore said. “That’s just not the world they were born into, and I feel it’s very important to educate those students in a way that meets their needs.”
With the VR headsets, teachers will be able to control what the students are viewing on an iPad, allowing for interactive learning games to be played and field trips to be taken all around the world.
Though she hasn’t lived in the area long, Moore said she has been very appreciative of the high level of community involvement shown by the area.
“I want every child to be treated fairly and every child to be individually educated, and I welcome the community to get involved in the school, help support the school,” Moore said.
She is planning to invest title money into programs to get parents involved, stating schools are more successful with parental participation. One such activity she wants to implement is a summer reading program where students can come to the school and exchange books with other students, then return two weeks later and swap books. Not only will this involve parents, students, and help students build a personal library, it will also keep them actively reading during summer months.
“When students read all summer and at least keep the same level that they left with in May, when they return that puts them two to three months ahead of other students who don’t participate in programs over summer,” said Moore. “So this can help keep students reading, and it’s coming from the parents.”
When she’s not educating, Moore enjoys taking old antiques and furniture and turning them into something “shabby-chic,” a hobby she says comes from having five sons and chipped furniture. She and her family also enjoy boating, originally in the river and now along the gulf, as well as traveling both nationally and internationally, and she is hoping to visit New Zealand within the next year. She is taking time now to not only become familiar with the community, but to become part of it.
“I have been amazed by how this place is just so enormous but has a small-town feel,” Moore said. “I didn’t expect that. I think when you go into these large communities, you don’t expect the neighbors to know you. Even with the board administrators and superintendents, the local first responders, they’ve all reached out and offered support regularly. The assistant principals here are wonderful, they’ve been such a huge help since I moved here. It’s really amazed me, it’s so great to have that hometown feel in such a large place.”
For more information on Foley Elementary School, check out their website at www.bcbe.org/foleyelem.