BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison will have a familiar face leading one of its elementary programs in the fall.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the Fort Madison Community School District’s Board of Directors, Adrian McKay was approved as part of the agenda to be the next Richardson Elementary School principal.
McKay comes from a special education background teaching for seven years in an Illinois co-op school near Macomb. He’s also served for two years with the Great River Area Education Agency as a special education consultant and worked for a year in Anamosa as the assistant principal at a preK-4 elementary school.
McKay moved to Fort Madison in 2012 and has a family here. He calls Fort Madison his hometown and says he is thrilled to be able to take an administrative position in his hometown.
“I think you have a lot of candidates in our field and when they go into administration their hopes are wanting to land back closer to their hometown,” he said.
“What was great for me was I kept up with what was going on in the district with regard to the initiatives that were going on. With (Superintendent) Erin (Slater) and (Curriculum Director) Kim Harmon coming in and the large initiative of the Professional Learning Communities, I could just see again there was an effort of more alignment across the district K-12. I know they are great here, but I’ve seen a springboard into even greater things.”
As a resident, McKay said he knows the physical challenges of Richardson, but is choosing to focus on the what he can influence.
“I’m very aware of the physical environment at Richardson and the challenges that imposes,” he said.
“I would have to tell you that one of the things I’m going to have my staff focusing is the controllables and things we can influence and not those we can’t control. This is definitely one of those things we can influence and I know this community is working hard to get another facility built. My hope is that we get to where we have new facilities but it’s going to take some time and working with the community. Overall, new facilities can contribute to higher learning for our students.”
He said he’s looked at performance data at Richardson and said good things are already taking place.
“”They’re doing well. There’s always room for improvement. Literacy is an area they’ve improved. And nationally we see struggles in areas of mathematics but there’s not as much research in that area as literacy.”
McKay said there’s a huge national debate on standardized assessments and he didn’t want to go too deep into them, but he said they do serve a purpose.
“It is a great snapshot of student performance and it can assist us in making sure we are serving students the best way we can,” he said.
McKay completed his Bachelor of Science in Education degree at Western Illinois University and his Masters degree in Educational Policy Leadership at the University of Iowa and will be replacing Emily Settles who is leaving the district for a position in the WACO school district in the fall.
“I am overjoyed to be in what I consider to be my hometown now. What I’m most excited about is beginning my work serving students and their families and the staff at Richardson,” he said.