“I said I would one day be the principal at that high school,” he said. That came true earlier this summer when Carter was selected to replace Mike Newell. Carter spoke to the Jacksonville Exchange Club last week.
“It’s an honor to work with young people in our community and it’s a honor to come back here to be principal.”
Carter’s arrival will allow him to oversee one of the biggest changes in Jacksonville school history – the start of the iPad program.
“This is an opportunity for students to be able to engage all over the world and allow us to keep filters in place for students,” he said.
Carter said a student will receive a notification if they go somewhere on the Internet that they are not supposed to go or they download an app that they shouldn’t have.
“There will be growing pains as we transition into this new system,” Carter said. “But you can rest assured whether it’s your children or grandchildren we’re going to stay on top of what is allowed on their computers.
“We want our students to have the opportunity that many other systems aren’t in a position to offer their students.
“An iPad is just a tool as a textbook is. The difference is that a textbook may be five or 10 years old and the information in it is probably a lot older. Now our students will have real time information. Education has changed greatly since you and I sat in a classroom. The teacher was like a gatekeeper holding all the information and assimilating the information to students. Now we have the option to give students much more information than in the past.”
Carter said as the system transitions, students will have the opportunity to take their own course rather than all students heading in one direction.
“The student can explore business, industrial development or higher education,” he said. “This just takes the top off of education. It will be exciting to see what happens in the next couple of years.”
Carter said that there will be changes made under his leadership, but that many will not be noticeable.
“What you will notice is that students will be more active in the community,” he said. “They will be more responsive to what is going on and our staff will make sure that happens. It’s about providing service back to the community. I don’t want our students to move off. I want them to be more productive and stay here and grow the community. Of course we know some will move away to bigger cities and bigger jobs, but we want to make sure they are prepared.”
Another thing Carter brought up is safety in the system.
“From day one, our focus will be on the safety and security in our schools,” he said. “That goes from how we conduct ourselves in the hallway to how we interact with one another.”
Carter said communication is an important tool.
“We not only need to communicate with students but with the community,” he said. “We would like to do community newsletters. I plan on going around the community and visiting businesses to see what we can do for them as a school. Any advice you have for me, let me know.”
In addition, Carter said he would like to see city-wide Internet service provided for students.
“I know some systems around us are having problems with that, but it would be a great tool for students, teachers and parents,” he said.
Carter is a 14-year public school educator with nine years in administration. He holds his BS, MSE and EDS degrees from JSU and played football for the Gamecocks - serving as captain in 1996. He is currently pursuing his doctorate from Lipscomb University. He is a speaker on school improvement and special education on both the national and state levels. He is president of the Alabama Association of Secondary Principals.