In the Spotlight: New Assistant Principal Jim Hand

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Ranger Review Staff

Assistant Principal Jim Hand

Assistant Principal Jim Hand, though new to Greely High School, has many years working as a teacher and administrator in Maine schools.   Previous to Greely, he was the principal at Massabesic High School (2016-2021) in Waterboro, Maine. During his time at Massabesic High School he was recognized for bringing positive changes to a school community facing a number of academic as well as socio-economic challenges.  Mr. Hand is married and has three daughters.  He and his family live in Saco.

 

Question:  Your last position was as principal at Massabesic High School.  How are the responsibilities of an assistant principal different from those of a principal?

Mr. Hand:  My love of the assistant principal’s position would be around working a lot with kids and their behaviors. And using those as times to help them learn from decisions, both good and bad. So I’ve been a middle school assistant principal and a high school assistant principal, and I love them both.  Kids in middle school are trying to figure out where they are in relation to those around them. And then when [students] get to the high school level,  they are trying to understand the world  around them now. They’re trying to figure out how to make an impact on it.  How can I have an impact on my school community,  town or even bigger? I enjoy helping kids on their journey to becoming adults.

 Question:  What do you hope to accomplish at Greely?

 Mr. Hand: Some of the things that that I’m looking at right now are continuing a lot of the great stuff that was already happening. And then there’s helping, including myself, helping everybody just get through this transition of getting back to school full time.  I went to bed at 8 pm yesterday!  [Getting enough rest] is trying to make sure you’re on your game. Every single day. The last thing I ever want to do is not be there for somebody, to not be present. So that’s always  one of my biggest goals–to be there and be present for students and not be distracted by what’s going on in my own life or just because I’m tired.

 Question:  One of the challenges you faced at Massabesic was helping students improve academically. How did you go about that?

 Mr. Hand: Usually test scores reflect what’s going on in the classroom. The staff wasn’t very empowered at the time. So how do we empower the staff more to feel like they’re more in charge of their day and not just doing what we, the admin, told them to do. So empowering the staff was huge. Celebrating the staff was huge. The mindset was  “if you feed the teachers, they won’t eat the kids.” If teachers are happy, they usually treat [students] better. So that was our mentality. And I think during my time there that [strategy] was pretty effective. And I left the place better than when I got there. 

Question:  In all your years as an educator, what was your most challenging moment?

 Mr. Hand: Anytime that I’ve lost a student, obviously, has been the hardest time. It’s always your goal after you’ve been through a [suicide] is to help staff and kids and then yourself.  I want students to know if  you’re ever feeling like you need help, to reach out to adults who care about you. One of my goals is that every single student has an adult they feel cares for them and cares for their success. 

Question:  What’s something you want us to know about you that we didn’t ask you about?

Mr. Hand: One of the things that I always want to impress upon people is that we’re all learners. And it never ceases to amaze me how constantly I’m learning more and more, and I feel like the older I get, the less I know. And so don’t be afraid to come down and talk through issues because even though I give an answer, that  doesn’t mean that might be my final answer.  I might learn something more tomorrow that will change my view on something.  I try to make decisions with the best information that I have at the time.  That’s my mindset. How do I get better today than I was yesterday.