The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 14, 2013

Owens, Tanner principals named top school leaders

— Being a principal has a myriad of responsibilities but there are also some perks to being the top administrator.

For Tanner High School Principal Billy Owens, one of the positives is being the first to sign up for the annual blood drive sponsored by the school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter.

On Wednesday afternoon in the gymnasium lobby, Owens sipped a soft drink as a Red Cross technician collected a unit of blood, and a roving yearbook photographer snapped candid shots.

After rolling up the sleeve of his light green sweater, a grinning Owens bounded off the donor gurney and began an enthusiastic search for his donor T-shirt.

In an announcement made by the Limestone County Schools Central Office, Owens Elementary Principal Cleo Miller is the Elementary Principal of the Year, and Owens is Secondary Principal of the Year. Both principals learned of their awards during a system-wide administrative meeting last week.

The system has sponsored a long-standing Teacher of the Year program for elementary and high school instructors but this is the first year the system has implemented a recognition program for administrators. The Central Office will also recognize top-performing support personnel this year.

Tanner principal

Owens is in his 17th year at Tanner, which has 840 students grades K-12 and 140 staff members. He is an energetic former coach and physical education teacher who led the 1986 Tanner boys basketball team to a state championship.

During his tenure, Tanner has been a NASA Explorer School and awarded the Bronze Award for top performing high schools by U.S. News & World Report. In August the school implemented Learning-Focused, a pilot program designed to improve instructional methods for teachers.

The Rattlers’ athletic program has yielded five state championships in the past three years. This year’s marching band earned superior ratings in all categories for the first time in school history, according to Owens.

“It’s been a championship year, academically and athletically. We’re very fortunate to have good students and great student-athletes, and a great staff that is very impressive,” Owens said. “I’m thrilled to be the person selected, and I have great respect for my peers — the other five secondary principals. To be selected is an honor, and I hope I can represent the system well.”

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