Lindsey Allen knows what his epitaph should say: He helped people become the best they could be.
Its a personal goal and perhaps the biggest reason the Macon native pursued a career in education. Now, Allen is preparing to take the helm of Howard Middle School as its new principal.
Allen, a former assistant principal at Jones Middle School in Gwinnett County, is one of several new Bibb County school principals going into the new academic year. But he is the only one who is coming from another district.
Howard Middle School was one of several schools with an open principals job in May when the board of education approved staffing changes, which shuffled principals at several schools. Howard High School also will get a new principal when Shannon Norfleet, the former principal of Bloomfield Middle School, takes the reins in August.
For Allen, who has spent a majority of his career in Gwinnett County, the chance to return to his roots was enticing. A graduate of Central High School, Allen grew up in Bibb County.
I felt a call to come back to my hometown and reinvest in the community and the school system that invested in me, he said. Those kids are sitting in the seats I sat in.
Allen already loved working with children when he entered Georgia College and pursued a degree in middle grade education. In 1998, he went to the Gwinnett County school system as a social studies teacher and spent a decade in the classroom. Soon, the principal at that school pushed Allen to attend the University of Georgia and earn his leadership certificate.
Soon afterward, Allen transferred to Barrow County schools, where he became an elementary school assistant principal. Then he returned to Gwinnett, where he was assistant principal of Jones Middle School for five years.
When Steve Smith, Bibb Countys interim superintendent, called Allen, he knew it was time to return home.
I knew this was something I needed to do, Allen said.
Smith remembers Allen as an outstanding student.
He is intelligent, resourceful, passionate and compassionate when it comes to educating all students, Smith said.
Allens leadership style is centered on building relationships and empowering faculty and students, Smith said. Also, Smith said he believes Allen will help revitalize Howard Middle School and the Bibb County school district.
In fact, Allen says his initial goal will be to build a strong partnership involving the students, parents, teachers and community. He wants all the partners to come to the table and give 100 percent, he said. The skys the limit.
Hell also encourage the faculty to place more focus on teaching and learning, and to help students have a meaningful school experience -- both academically and socially.
While low test scores have been an issue for the district, Allen says he will bolster student achievement by first boosting teacher performance. Teachers must focus on reading and writing skills, a significant factor affecting student performance, he said.
In Gwinnett, Allens school recently won an award for having the highest percentage of students in the district that passed the eighth grade writing test. The school was 11th in the state. His former school also received an award for eighth-grade math scores.
As he prepares to make strides at his new school, Allen is taking time to familiarize himself with Howard. A father of three children, Allen and his wife spend much of their spare time involved in their childrens athletics and in their church. But, for now, Allen is busy as he returns to the community where he was first introduced to the value of education.
I want to help this community and Howard Middle School become the best it can be, he said.
To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 744-4331.