Monday may have been the beginning of “Thank Alabama Teachers Week,” but praise has already begun pouring in for one local administrator. Athens Middle School Principal Graham Aderholt was recently named the District Middle School Principal of the Year by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals.

Graham Aderholt

Graham Aderholt

There are eight different districts in Alabama, and Aderholt was selected as the recipient for the accolade for District 8 by fellow administrators in the AASSP.

“I was initially surprised but honored at the same time,” Aderholt said. “I feel like this award recognized Athens Middle School in general. It makes me appreciate where I work even more. I think the key is to surround yourself with great people, and we have great teachers and staff who always put the kids first.”

Aderholt said he found out he had been selected for the honor during the last week of October. He was then invited to attend a conference in Gulf Shores last week, where Aderholt said each of the district winners from throughout the state was recognized.

During the conference, three candidates each for both middle school and high school were selected, with a statewide principal of the year to be determined later. Though Aderholt was not named to the top three, he is still among the top eight middle school principals in Alabama.

“It's fantastic,” said Beth Patton, acting superintendent for the Athens City Schools District. “We are so proud of him. He is definitely deserving of the honor.”

ACS School Board President Russell Johnson said Aderholt is a great principal as well as an “up-and-coming rock star” for the system.

“I expect big things from him,” Johnson said. “It is a hard thing to work with those middle school grades, but he does a phenomenal job.”

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