Eddie Tyler interviews with BOE

Published 5:59 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eddie Tyler, assistant superintendent for supportive services, Baldwin County (Ala.) School System.

Been in education 34 years. Graduated Murphy High in Mobile. Attended South Alabama for undergraduate; Masters from UWA. Worked as football coach and AD at Fairhope, later named assistant principal. Went to Gulf Shores as principal in 2003 for 5 years. In current role for 2 years.

On why he wants to work in Demopolis

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“I feel like coming to Demopolis, it’s a small town with big city flavor. I kind of have that background. We’ve wanted to get out where we feel like we can have a little space.”

On developing mission

“It’s a collaborative effort. It’s a buy-in with all the teachers in this community. It’s an effort to talk about the state of the city school system, to talk about where we are and where we need to go.”

On special needs students

“I think every child can learn. The parents send us the best they have. There’s got to be an effort to share the data of No Child Left Behind with the teachers having input and having the teachers go to where (the students) are. Some students don’t need our help. You have the high students and the low students. Those will be provided for. Those middle students are the ones who fall through the cracks.”

On school improvement plans

“We have to go by data to see what areas we’re strong in and what areas we’re weak in. We have to reach out to our stakeholders so they can have buy-in in our efforts to teach the students.”

Student development

“First, you take the over-achievers and make sure they continue to over achieve by giving them challenges…The at-risk students…we’re going to have to sit down and develop some remediation based on data and test scores.”

Tyler said this could include developing specialized programs to supplement those students’ curriculum.

“It’s tough sometimes to get them before school and after school…so you get them during school.”

On management style

“I’m not a micro-manager. I embrace employees…I listen. My job is to work with them, to communicate with them, to collaborate with them. And I may have something to offer them that they didn’t know or think about. I lead by example. I make people feel they are part of the process.”

On communication

“When I was a principal, it was getting out and going to the classroom. We met as a faculty when there was something to meet about. But I constantly stay in contact with them with hard copy memos, or email…I’m pretty much a hands on person.”

On special needs students

“You’re going to get yourself in trouble if you’re not diligent with your paperwork and you don’t communicate with your parents. They’re not always going to like what you’re telling them but they just want to hear from you. If it’s addressed right, and these children have what they need, they can be productive.”

On curriculum changes

“The curriculum needs to have areas that can touch every child. We need enough electives, aside from the core, that they can feel excited about…Successes there are reaching all of the children.”

On the role of Superintendent and BOE

“I work for (the board) and the citizens of this town…it is my job to provide the best leadership I can for the school system. It’s my job to keep this system excited, keep the administrators and educators excited about what they’re doing.”

On budget development

“I’ve seen my budget get cut by millions of dollars. To me, when I became principal at Gulf Shores, the first person I sat down and talked to was my bookkeeper…I told her I want to have a working knowledge of what’s going on, but to keep me and the school out of trouble.”

Tyler cited a strong working relationship with the chief financial officer of the school system would be key in developing and living within a budget.

On accomplishments in Baldwin County

“I feel like I’m very fortunate in my career to have been put in situations that others may not take…I’m not in this for honors or recognition. Whatever I’ve done, I feel I’ve done to the best of my ability. My success, I guess, is that I empower people to do their job.”

On discipline

“I don’t want a parent feel like in any way I’m listening to (the teacher) without giving any consideration to what’s going on…I’m big on consistency. The biggest injustice you can do is to not do the proper thing, the right thing.”

On being involved in academic and extra-curricular

“You’ve got to be there. As a principal, when I went to watch young boys and girls play, I liked to mingle with the crowd but I like to find a spot and watch the student athletes. For the arts…there’s something for every child. If a curriculum is provided for them, they’re going to be successful with encouragement at home and at school. As a superintendent, you have support everything and show the students you’re there for them, whether it’s a volleyball game, an art show, a singing…”