Fox recognized virtually as state’s top assistant principal, discusses school year
Jenks High School Associate Principal Eric Fox was named the 2019 Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals (OASSP) Assistant Principal of the Year last fall.
Fox was scheduled to be recognized not once, but twice this summer for the honor, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both ceremonies were cancelled and transitioned into a virtual format.
The first ceremony was supposed to take place in June, which was the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) Summer Leadership Conference. The second was to take place this week in Washington D.C. at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Principals Conference.
“It was humbling to even be selected,” Fox said. “There is an incredible number of assistant principals across the state and they all do important work. To have a chance to share those stories, it has really been an honor.”
Fox said this honor would not have been achievable without the people he has around him at Jenks Public Schools.
“This really isn’t about me,” Fox said. “From my coaching background, I am a guy that believes in team. A lot of things I am able to do with staff members or with students is because of the team I have around me. We have a great team of adults who care about kids and are giving it their all on a daily basis thinking, ‘how can we make this better for the kids at Jenks High School?’ I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it weren’t for being a part of a great team.”
After being announced as the state’s top assistant principal, Fox presented at several conferences across Oklahoma and was scheduled to appear at other conferences, but the global pandemic had other plans. March came and everything moved to the virtual world.
“Since then, I have participated in several video conferences and webinars to help share different issues that schools and administrators were facing to get ideas from around the state and country,” Fox said.
Fox said he will be on another call Wednesday to discuss with the OASSP what the fall plans will look like at Jenks Public Schools.
“There has been a lot of engagement in networks of administrators, both in state and around the country, since March,” Fox said. “We all have one common denominator and that is we all love kids. We want to find the best way to serve our students, our families, and our communities. To hear what principals in Missouri, New York and Hawaii are doing and seeing the innovative ways they are letting kids know that we love them and care about them, want what is best for them and are going to do our best to get through this circumstance has been inspiring.”
Fox said a key for educators in a time like this is building relationships and connections with their students and their families. He said that is being reinforced through this virtual learning world.
“If you weren’t good at building relationships prior to the transition to distance learning, it was going to be very difficult for you to engage and build relationships through a digital platform,” Fox said. “Those teachers and schools, who have invested in outreach and connections and building relationships, it was a still a challenge to transition to remote learning, but it wasn’t as big of a challenge.”
As Jenks Public Schools’ staff and students prepare to enter the 2020-2021 school year and face the challenges ahead, Fox said it is important the principal staff take a step back and listen.
“We have to do a lot of listening,” Fox said. “We have to listen to staff concerns, parent concerns, community concerns and student concerns. We believe in the power of information or we would not be in education. We want to get information in the hands of teachers and parents, so they can make the best choices working through the parameters we are facing. Our team at Jenks high School has done a good job of that.”