KILLEN — Adam Moody said he has had a special place in his heart for Brooks Elementary School since he did his student teaching there 10 years ago.

So when the opportunity arose to seek the principal's position, he seized it. He was hired July 1.

Moody, 32, began in his new position July 15 at the pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade school.

His experience spans 10 years at Hibbett School in Florence — six as a teacher and the past four years as assistant principal. 

A 2011 graduate of the University of North Alabama, Moody said his student internship at Brooks Elementary provided insights into the close-knit community.

"This school really represented a community of excellence to me, and it always had a piece of my heart," he said. "So when the doorway to this opportunity opened, I looked at it as a great chance to expand my professional life and work with a community that already strives for excellence in all it does."

Moody said his educational values can be summed up in a three-pronged philosophy — relationships matter, student-centered actions and continuous improvement.

He describes himself as a servant leader, and said he is dedicated to doing what's best for students.

"Students need to know that they are welcomed and loved," he said. "Everything we do as a team has to be based on what's best for students, and we must tailor our education delivery to best meet those needs."

Entering his first year as a principal in a new school in the midst of a pandemic is sure to deliver its challenges, Moody said. 

"I just have to focus on those values, and we'll work together as a faculty and do what's best for students in the midst of all that's going on with the pandemic," he said.

"This year, I'll have to take things slowly and do it correctly as I strive to be the best educator I can be.

"I always want to encourage children to keep learning and growing and I'm continuing my own education now — my doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Alabama. It's essential to me to always look for ways for our students and staff to improve."

Lauderdale County students are scheduled to return to the classroom on Aug. 17.

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