This is an interview with Mr. Rufus Gant, he's a retired principal, of Hampton High School, Hampton School System, located in Hampton, Virginia.
| Back to "G" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |
Q: Mr. Gant, could you indicate for me how many years you were in Education as a teacher and as a principal?
(Streamed audio file of interview for this question using RealPlayer)
A: Sure, be glad to! I8 years as a classroom teacher, and I8 years as an administrator. Out of I8 years as an administrator, I served as the API, (that's Assistant Principal in charge of Instruction) at Bethel High School, and 6 years as Principal of Hampton High School.
Q: What years did you serve as a principal of Hampton High School?
A: I980 to I986
Q: I did my student teaching at Hampton High School.
A: Very good, you got a good experience.
Q: Yes, Ok. Mr. Gant would you describe your school to me please?
A: In terms of what particular school? Hampton High School, well when I went there, I knew that Hampton High School was steeped in traditions and they had set high standards for themselves, that includes teachers and students. The only thing I did was attempted to reinforce those things I found when I went there and consequently we were successful because I found it to be a challenge. Because we were named one of the better schools in the nation in I985.
Q: What was the enrollment of Hampton High?
A: When I left It was approximately 2200, when I went there it was approximately I600. We had a drop in enrollment in among all schools?
Q: What was the racial ratio?
Q: Blacks to whites first.
A: 40 percent black and 60 percent white. Q: What was the ratio between student to teacher? A: I9.I, which was a good number to afford some individualized instruction.
Q: What kind of building were you in? How old is the building itself?
A: It was erected in I959. Approximately 27-28 years.
Q: Any major renovations?
A: Oh yes, they did quite a bit. They made some additions in the Library, some additions in the main office, a lot of exterior and ground work.
Q: Why did you decide to become a principal?
A: Well, I did not decide, it was a determination made for me. A group of people in the Northwestern section of the city petitioned the Superintendent to make me an Administrator. It was based on the fact that I worked with young people in tennis. They found out they had to put a Black Educator at a particular school and the petition indicated that they wanted me to be placed there as the Administrator. Well, the superintendent came and asked me to consider it, and I talked to my wife and considered it. So I offered to go into Administration.
Q: This was while you were at Bethel? A: This was while I was at Bethel, I968. Q: How long were you an Assistant Principal at Bethel High School?
A: I2 years.
Q: What was your school's philosophy?
A: You mean at Bethel High School?
Q: Let's talk mostly about Hampton, since you were a principal at Hampton.
A: The philosphy at Hampton was that each young person was a separate entity, and it was the obligation and responsibility of the teachers, and administrators to wise and guide these young people and do everything they possibly could to meet their needs. That was the overall philosophy. of course a lot of these were embodied and they would not be germane to this situation.
Q: Did you, yourself develop this philosphy, or was it something that you determined was in existence when you arrived?
A: It was a group decision of The Philosphy Committee, and of course I gave input about my personal feelings about education and looking at the overall objective of the school we came up with the philosphy very similar to what I just said. The student in the center of the classroom.
Q: How did you create a climate for learning?
A: I found that a leader must, assume a posture that demands respect, not necessarily admiration, but respect. And, I said to the teachers that is was not important that they like me nor was it always important that I like them. But it was a matter of of putting our heads together and doing those things we are obligated to do, on behalf of the young people.
Q: What leadership techniques did you use?
A: I improvised quite a bit, Janet. I had an open door policy, which means that any student who needed to see me. did not have to bother to contact the secretary. If my office door was open, they could just come right on in, and discuss your problem and we would try to find a solution to it. Another thing I did was honor outstanding teachers, by having the School Board members during graduation exercises place a medallion around their necks, I honored approximately 5-6 each year.
Q: What techniques do you think were more successful than others?
A: Well, I feel that by honoring the teachers it indicated to them, that I was appreciative of the good job that they were doing, and as we are mortals, we all sometimes like a little pat on the back, a chance to induce them to give of themselves more; that means possibly remaining after school an hour or two hours, possibily coming to school earlier to conferences with students or parents. So I think it provides an incentive. And like I say the results, would manifest to the fact, that we did receive national school recognition.
Q: What role did you play in Public Community Relations?
A: Well, I did the best I could, working in conjunction with the former superindentent. He had a unique philosophy of setting up coffees at different homes to answer questions for parents about the school system, and he asked me to serve as representative for the secondary principals. Which I did and enjoyed very much. So I had the chance to interact, with the large segment of the community, those who had children at my school or children at other schools. Another thing I did, was to create a Guidance Advisory Committee, with about twelve parents. We talked about issues and concerns, and when we had a problem, we tried to find a solution to that problem. It worked beautifully.
Q: What do you think teachers expect principals to be?
A: Humanitarians. considerate of their welfare, of being willing to support them when critical issues come about. And also, to be able to direct to their attention, a weakness in the instructional aspect. And through joint cooperative efforts provide a solution to that problem.
Q: Given your knowledge of your school system as well as other school systems, do you think the majority of the teachers here in the Hampton School System feel that way, that their principals are supportive?
A: That would be rather difficult for me to surmise. But, based on my knowledge of the majority of the principals, I feel that there is a lot of equity in what the administrator attempts to do. I feel that they convey to the teachers that they do have their support.
Q: How did you evaluate teachers?
A: Oh gee!, numerous means, I'm known for being outside your classroom at any time. I'm also known for being in your classroom at any time. Because I set up my itinerary so that I can avail myself to make those on the spot observations.
Q: Did you have a formal evaluation form?
A: Yes, we had two at Hampton High School. One that was developed by the city and one developed by Rufus Gant. It was an addendum to the overall evaluation. It asked for a lot of personal things.
Q: You were organized into departments and each department had a department head? How were your departments organized?
A: We had a chairperson for each department.
Q: Did the colleagues evaluate each other?
A: Not necessarily each other in terms of evaluation,but lending assistance to those with internal weakness we would ask teacher A to work in conjunction with Teacher B to strengthen that weakness. So you had that type of evaluation.
Q: What is your philosophy of education. Mr. Gant?
A: I would say, basically, what I said initially, the student being the focal point, being the center of the classroom and having his or her needs, and having those around them provide the assistance that is needed. Stemming from the parent to the administrator to the teacher and to the peers. As I said each person is a separate entity.
Q: What does it take to be an effective principal?
A: Understanding, consideration, and knowledge of the principles of the Code of Ethics regarding education.
Q: Do you find, great difficulties in sticking to the Code of Ethics?
A: No, I did not. I didn't vary from it, no protestantship, everything was carte blanche. Like I said before, we were for #y focal point concerned with life, concerned about respect. If you spoke to me fine, If you didn't speak, I would not feel offended. I don't know what problems you had at that particular time. So it was not a critical issue.
Q: What pressures did you face as principal? How did you handle them?
A: Well, as in all aspects of Humanity. People play favors, they have favorites. My hardest difficulty was making a decision and having someone from the top administrative level address it to my attention. Based on the fact that there had been a complaint. That, was I found one of the greatest problem I was confronted with. Because once I made a decision, I didn't back down. I would adhere to that decision and of course to the dislikes of a lot of people, but that was the way it had to be.
Q: Were there other decisions that you wish you had not made?
A: Oh possibly so, hindsight is something that you can't really speak in regards too, nothing of a serious nature that would damage the reputation or the overall feelings of an individual, I am not aware of that.
Q: If you had to do it again, what would you do to better prepare yourself to be a principal?
A: I don't think there is anything that I would bother to change. I tried to before assuming leadership responsibility, or position I tried to learn how to humanize the course of showing respect, for the rights of other people. My decision making process was based on long years of working with young people and adults and mainly classroom teachers. So, I don't think I would alter anything, I think I would follow the sa## identical course of action.
Q: How did you handle teacher grievances?
A: Well, to me it was a simple process. Whether it was a parental grievance or teacher grievance. If I had to speak to one or two or three in my office, initially I would say to those present, here are the ground rules, this is how we are going to conduct this inquiry or situation, one person will speak at a time. No talking over the other person, there will be no augmentive things taking place here. I will render a decision, when I feel that it is necessary, and those are the ground rules that all of us will abide by and it kept the tempers down. A lot of times the people were antagonistic but prior to leaving they would have cooled down and understood that we were there trying to find a solution, not to take offense to anyone nor defend anyone. It proved to be worthwhile when conducted in that manner.
Q: Did you try to emphasize that you wanted to resolve any issues at that level before it surfaced or went up the chain?
A: Oh very definitely, we tried to do that, to keep it from going out of my office. Of course, if a parent or teacher wishes to go beyond that point, then they have the privilege. That was step 2, that they could adhere to in terms of a grievance.
Q: Without giving any names, can you site a specific grievance that might have been resolvable?
A: Yes, I'II give you two instances. One teacher was accused of using profanity in class. Of course I inquired, made inquiries of about ten students, and all of them said the same thing. They did not know I was speaking to them, then I would address the teacher. The teacher indicated that I wasn't there, so that was hearsay. But, the hearsay was good enough for me. We carried this grievance beyond and we lost. Another teacher was loud, boasterious, and picked on kids, and really acted in an indignant manner towards them. I addressed it to her attention and she denied it. And of course, she went to the superintendent, and he sent her back to me. There were various ways of resolving certain situations. Q: Have you ever had to fire a teacher? A: Well, I didn't per se fire them, but I have recommended to the superintendent that they be dismissed. When I was the API I had five or six teachers who were recommended for dismissal. At Hampton High School, 2 teachers were recommended for dismissal.
Q: That's not very many considering the many years you were a principal.
A: No, I'd try to resolve those situations as best we could, by going through the five procedures; that's germane to dismissal, step I then step 2, let's try again. I never wanted anyone to lose his or her job. It was just a matter of conforming to rules governing their behavior.
Q: How can we improve education, teachers, etc?
A: Well, there are various things we can do collectively; First thing is we've got to arouse the instincts of the parents, you have make them aware of those responsibilities in regards to their job to children. And number two, you've got to alter a lot of administrative procedures, those people downtown calling the shoots. You have to make some adjustments, you have to go into the classroom or into classroom situations, so that they are more knowledgeable about what's happening. The third thing is you have to be more supportive of our teachers, provide more meaningful in-service for them. Fourth: You have to make the students more aware of their responsibilities as a young. You have to force them to take their education more seriously, make them aware of their future involvements, and future responsibilities.
Q: How do you think you can do that?
A: Through joint efforts very easily, with things I mentioned, we have sit down as a force collectively, starting with your superintendent, principal. members of your school board, parents and students.
Q: They have a total different set of values then in your generation and my generation. how important do you think it is, getting them understanding has importance?
A: You know, I've heard a lot of administrators with the same sentiments that you just expressed but I tend to disagree. Human nature is human nature. The fact that when I was a teenager in school, the population was not as large as it is now. As the population has increased, problems have come about that if you pro-rate, equate them with years back, with certain number of students, it would be no different. There were students who smoked pot when I was in high school, students who drank wioe, some drank beer, some who were juvenile. All those things existed then, Its just more of them now.
Q: Because the numbers are higher.
At: Right, and of course, we have more means of communication, television. and we didn't have television then, we only had radio. We didn't have large newspapers, there were no syndicated local newspapers, it was only in the location. You didn't know what was happening in New York. As radio increased, and television came about, the syndicated newspaper associated press, that alerted the public. Consequently, people heard more about things.
Q: How did you handle the civil rights issue, did you have any racial incidents?
A: Oh yes, did have any at Hampton High School. There may have been one or two fights between a black and a white. In my judgment it was not a prejudicial type thing, it was a fight between two individuals with a misunderstanding. Now in Bethel High School, that was following the integration of the entire city. Of course a lot of black and white students, felt that they shouldn't have been sent to Bethel High School. They wanted to be at there home school which was all white and all black. So it was a period of time, before we made that adjustment, or helped them alike that adjustment, but as they became active in school, blacks were elected to prestigious positions in school, whites were elected to prestigious positions in school, and then both seemed (at this time) to recognize that they were there as students, not as black and white students.
Q: Did you have any resentment or resistance, say within the faculty?
A: No, not faculty, we had some members of the community. The newspaper was published which tended to castigate Bethel High School and the Black principal. But as time progressed those obvious ceased and were altered because we didn't have any more resentment from the parents, we had one hundred percent cooperation. Which made for a beautiful school.
Q: The newspaper that you had mentioned, was this a school newspaper?
A: No, it was created by parents, a segment of the community.
Q: Did they circulate that?
A: Yes, they did, within the community. The students would get copies and bring them to school, and that's how we found out.
Q: What about busing? Hampton didn't really have a busing problem did they?
A: Hampton did not have a intergration problem per se because we were not mandated. We did it voluntarily. So consequently, a lot of rebuttal that came about in outlying communities, outside Hampton, did not take place in Hampton. The superintendent announced, of course jointly through school board that all schools would be integrated, then the plans were put into action and we proceeded from there.
Q: Very good, what procedures should be used before a person is selected to become a principal?
A: I think there should be a committee, conduct an interview, I think that the person should be given the opportunity to work in conjunction with the principal per se before being appointed. A probationary time for that person to serve in a position with a principal before being appointed as principal.
Q: On the job training.
A: Yes, let me give you an example of what I did at Hampton High School, and use that as a criteria. I had three assistant principals, beginning in August, I would designate assistant principal A as principal of that month, Assistant principal B for the following month, and C for the following month, and they continued to rotate. Which means if any time I am out of the building that particular person is the principal. No one will carry any concern to any other administrator, except for that designated individual. All parental concerns, inquiries must be directed to that one person. So that if you have an administrator you like, you couldn't go to him, you had to go to the one I designated, he was held accountable to me upon my return. That was a part of training, I feel helped my assistant principal's, because they were serving as active principals. That's why I say something similar should be set up somewhere so they can be subjected to that type of experience.
Q: How did you handle assistant principals, other than as you indicated?
A: Each had his/her own job description, so that doesn't pose a problem, they knew exactly what they are supposed to do. The only thing I would do is accept the responsibilities, I stress that a lot of monitoring must take place, they must be outside in the morning, outside in the afternoon, in the halls during the day, so once they knew exactly what I wished for them to do, there was no problems .
Q: As a principal, what was your biggest concern?
A: Well, I think that any administrator, has to be concerned about attitude, I wanted each young person in the school to feel as though they had a second home there. Of course that encumbers a bit. Having teachers show respect for the students, having other students show respect for their rights, feeling free to walk any part of the building without being molested or bothered.
Q: How did you handle, when you brought all of the student body together for a program or assembly, were they rowdy? What was the general tone of the student body?
A: The first assembly I held at Hampton High School, they were not disinterested I'II put it that way, they did bother to turn there heads and talk, and I made it known then anyone who was during an assembly, If they were asked to leave the assembly, they could proceed to their lockers to get your books and go home. I would not tolerate any indignation from any student during an assembly. So I conveyed that to them. I did suspend maybe four or five, and I would embarass them by making them stand up and walk up to the front of the auditorium and take a seat. Seats that I had kept vacant so everyone could see who was going home. And they knew that their behavior was the reason. Of course, there were a few objections, parental objections initially, but when they realized how orderly the assemblies were the following year then they appreciated what I had done. Initially they didn't think it was very nice of me to be beligerant, I guess an autocrat.
Q: What do you think of career ladders for teachers?
A: Well, depends on how you, what difference you speak in regards to. A teacher progressing educationally, acquiring courses, new ideas, new concepts. I agree with that. But, in terms of how a career ladder uses the human element bothers me.
Q: Could you expand on that for me.
A: Yes, as I usually say in all discussions I have, we're all humans. Sometimes human nature prevails where it should not. Certain principals take a liking to certain teachers and they put forth more effort to help those special teachers than they do others. And it gives the teacher a foothold and I don't think that is the way it should be. I think the evaluation should be the pri"# ingredient for support on the part of the administration.
Q: Opportunities for advancement for teachers within the Hampton System, how would you rate that on a scale of I to I0, with I0 being very good?
A: I would say _9. We have presently among our supervisors, all former teachers in the city of Hamtpon, so which means they went through the ranks and were promoted as a supervisor or as a Curriculum Specialist. So that speaks well, for the city of Hampton, in that regard.
Q: Very Good!
A: You know you work for the system for ten years, a position opens up, you apply for it, and they say we've brought someone in. It's a slap in the face. I've seen a lot of teachers migrate based on that fact. They give themselves a certain amount of time to rise to another position, if they don't get it, they call it quits and go somewhere else. I think that's a justifiable means of working with your teachers in your system.
Q: What do you think of the standards of quality established by the State School Board?
A: I think they are beautiful, should have of happened long years ago. If someone would study them very closely they would certainly be afforded insight into what a particular child should be able to master at a certain time in their your lives. It also affords the parent to understand what weaknesses that child might have (if they wo# in concerning what the guidance people) they show the test results in terms of what's needed, what weaknesses a child might possess and what strength the child has. I think they did a beautiful job. I had an opportunity to serve on about five different committees for the State Department, so I was one step ahead of most others in the regard to what they were doing while they were doing it.
Q: In Hampton do they have social promotion?
A: Years ago, It discontinued in approximately I958, prior to that they had it and the reason was, let's be fair to the young person, lets not keep him back, his age mandates that he should be placed in a certain grade.
Q: Now we are using more of a Competency Based System where you have to meet these qualities or standards before you are promoted.
A: You have to and once you reach age I9-6 if you don't adhere to the standards of consent you must pay tuition. Then you may continue but have to tuition. At this point, in time, its about $I500.00 a year.
Q: Did you have any older student's past age I9.6 at Hampton?
A: Had quite a few, yes, some 20.4 and 20.5 but I gave them the benefit of the doubt, I did not send their names downtown, I kept it on #y list and indicated to the parent of the student that I would give them one school term to meet the requirements and of course, if they don't meet the requirement then I ask them to withdraw. I'd recommend the GED for them.
Q: What are the characteristics associated with effective schools?
A: Well it stands at the top, Philosophy of your School Board. General concern of your Superintendent, attitudes of your Curriculum Specialist, dedication of your building principal, and a good strong faculty, and concerned students because students make the school what it is. Good students; good school; bad students; bad school. I've seen it year in year out.
Q: What do you think of the testing procedures such as testing procedures for PSAT and SAT?
A: Very good, they have done a tremendous job in structuring those tests and it does measures the things that its intended to measure. I don't see how we could really place standards or categorize students without them because it denotes their knowledge and their skills. Very much indicative to what the student has been capable of doing or is capable of doing.
Q: What was the toughest decision you had to make as a principal? Why was it difficult?
A: Had too many tough decisions. Kind of hard to pick out one. Well! I think the toughest one I had to make was, I had students who were running in the building after school in order to catch the bus and a couple of semi-paraplegics were knocked down and it frightened me. So I issued a mandate to "all students" that there be no running in the building at anytime. Any student found guilty of running would be suspended automatically for three days. I did see a student running and I called him over and asked why was he running, and he said he wasn't running. So I gave him a three day suspension. The Superintendent called, a member of the School Board called, the affluent parent called and said I was wrong in suspending the boy. I held on to my decision. I didn't vary. I conferred with all the people and tired to relate to them my concern for the general welfare of all students. I used the example of the two students that had been knocked down, I think that's one of the toughest. A lot of affluent people tend to be insecure.
Q: How much lattitude would you say you had in making decisions as to what took place inside your school?
A: I think I had about ninty-five percent latitude and five percent would come from concerns of administrators from downtown who should not have been concerned. I would say about ninty-five percent.
Q: Were you a manager of building on an instructional leader?
A: Both, as building principal you have to be both. That's why I find it difficult for a principal to be appointed without having served as API. You have to sign your name to all the evaluations, regardless of who makes the evaluation, whether its your department Chairperson or your Assistant Principal. You have to affix your signature also.
Q: The official folder for a teacher is that held in the school or in the school board office?
A: It's held at school all of them. A copy maybe in the hands of the Curriculum Specialist but only administrators are sent downtown. All teachers are kept in the school.
Q: What was your key to success as a principal? From a principal's standpoint.
A: A lot of things tend to indicate to you whether or not you are being successful. It goes back to cooperation of the parents, attitudes of teachers, attitudes of students. They let you know whether or not you're on task. But I think the greatest thing to me is knowing within myself that all efforts have been put forth to make the school a better school working in conjunction and support with teacher and students and parents, to me thats success.
Q: We talked a lit bit earlier about your Code of Ethics is there anything you want to add or identify specifically that you built your Code of Ethics around?
A: Well, yes, Its being in support of teachers and students in their efforts. Being honest with both groups. You tell them exactly where they are if its good, bad or indifferent. You relate that to them and then try to give reinforcement and support to help improve their skills and knowledge. Thats it in a nut shell!
Q: What are your feelings about the responsibility of the principal for identifying and developing future school administrators?
A: Well, I feel that there could be a positive solution to that concern. It would take a lot of involvement, a lot of honesty, a lot of fairness, you'd have to have peer evaluations and those peer evaluations should be based on the measurable things, not the pleasurable or the personal. I attended a workshop sponsored by the Department of Education at Mary Washington College, several years ago and we had a similar situation. We had to make peer evaluations of other principals and that information was forwarded to the State Department of Education. So you had to be honest and fair, and there were some good ones and some bad ones. The State Department sponsored that so maybe what you are asking is very similar to what has already taken place by the State Department.
Q: Could you describe a typical work day in terms of how you spent your time?
A: I would arrive at school no later than six or six-#irty daily. I would not leave until five or five-thirty daily. So, I put in almost twelve or thirteen hours daily, and my reason for that was, the early morning I would go thru all #y mail, get all my correspondence out of the way, set up the itenary for observations, and conferences. Then it would free me outside of those times I had something planned. Then I did go to the parking lot each and every day and I stayed until the last bus had arrived. I''d be in the halls during the change of classes. I'd frequent the cafeteria, both lunch sessions. Then what meeting were planned were usually held three-thirty or four o'clock at the Administration Building downtown, and that was just about the day.
Q: How often did you meet with your teachers? Your Instructional Staff?
A: Meetings were held with department persons once a month, with the Dean of Girls, Dean of Boys, my Assistant Principal, every Monday. With guidance, once a month. With teachers, maybe four faculty meetings per year, maybe four and they loved me for that. We had department chairpersons and most of the things were taken came in that manner. I didn't see the necessity of having the people converge into a building to listen to me, that was one of my unusual techniques also.
Q: What caused you to choose retirement when you did?
A: Well, like I mentioned earlier during the interview, we did receive the National Excellence Award by the State Department of Education in Washington, DC., had lunch with President Reagan, having visited Secretary Bennett, I figured it was a good time to go out with the award and also at that time there was a lack of administrative support downtown. I didn't want to be involved anymore with the type of situations I experienced my last year.
Q: Motivation! Do you have any special techniques, for motivating teachers that we could utilize as future administrations?
A: Yes, I think I mentioned one or two of them already, that is going into teachers rooms an inoperative times and then confer with them, to relate to them whether or not there was good rapport being exhibited, whether or not there was good intivaction between the teacher and the student, and then sit down with them and talk about it. Now in order to do that you had to be able to do script taking. I don't know if you are familiar with that process or not. Okay, you go into a teacher's room, Teacher A, I enter room at 9 O'clock, So I write down, enter room at 9 o'clock, took a seat; 9:0I - teacher calls roll, follow whole period thru. So then when you relate to this teacher its everything that did take place, and those discrepancies having been detected can easily be related to that teacher and she can take that (give her a copy of it) and the next day with that same class she won't make that same mistake again. That's one, and the other is to honor them. Anytime you honor a teacher at a graduation with II,000 - I2,000 people then and you have a medallion wrapped around their neck and you read his or her name, speak of them in a very positive manner it intensifies the interest they have in being a part of the school. So those are the two ways I feel you can help that young person, the teacher.
Q: The news media has indicated that we are in; we have an epidemic situation as for as teen pregnancies are concerned? Do you have any special feelings on concerns about what we in the school system can do?
A: Once again it goes back to the students, like your SADD Programs. You've had so many kids getting killed thru accidents while drinking and your SADD programs really bought the students together and I think we need something very similar. Let the peers of the school who have experienced some misfortune, let them take to the ninth graders, eighth-graders in peer groups. Let them relate to them the ill experience they have had, misfortunes that have come about, the problems, the financial problems, let them convey that to the students. So, I think that would be the means by which we can solve the problems because we as adults we can talk and you know, you believe half of what you hear an adult say anyway. You are going to make up your own mind. But, when your peer relates to you with things, you stop and think twice about it as a young person. I think by structuring groups to serve in peer capacities would be a good solution to it, to some of the problems.
Q: We also have an increase in teenage suicide. While you were principal, did you lose any students to suicide?
A: We lost two at Hampton High School. Their reasons were not known in general, but the kids had a concept of why they did it and it was based on problems with family. Now, whether they had become pregnant or had a drug problem I don't know but it was family related according to reports that we received.
Q: I wanted to ask you something about budget, How was the school budget handled? Did you receive a lump sum of money, and as principal, could you allocate how much money went to differnt things at Hampton?
A: They send you a general outline of how much money yo can have for operation of your school. Then you have to sit down with your administrations and teachers and plan your itinerary. (How many books you need to order, what audio - visual things) so you are given the latitude to plan for your school. And also how you make the determination as to what teachers and how many teachers you will have in your school and according to your budget. If there are fifteen teachers in the budget your enrollment is going to increase at I2 percent then you are given that prerogative to ask for teachers that you heed, of course, you have A: They send you a general outline of how much money yo can have for operation of your school. Then you have to sit down with your administrations and teachers and plan your itinerary. (How many books you need to order, what audio - visual things) so you are given the latitude to plan for your school. And also how you make the determination as to what teachers and how many teachers you will have in your school and according to your budget. If there are fifteen teachers in the budget your enrollment is going to increase at I2 percent then you are given that prerogative to ask for teachers that you heed, of course, you have to show justification.
Q: How are teachers hired?
A: They're interviewed usually through the building principal firs then they go before the Screening Committee downtown as designated by the Superintendent.
Q: If I wanted to apply for a position in Hampton, I would complete my application and take it to the School Board?
A: That's correct, Personnel Office.
Q: Any they would?
A: Refer you to me, or to the school that teachers are needed at.
Q: As with most interviews Mr. Gant, there are usually questions the interviewer should ask that they forget or don't ask. Up to this point can you identify anything that I should have asked you that I have not?
A: No, I think you covered it very well! I mentioned a couple of times about the National School Recognition and you didn't follow through. You didn't pose any questions to me, regarding that. I would like to make a statement! We tried for that honor two years, first year we received Honorable Mention from the State Department of Education in Virginia. So, I had a contigency of five teachers and unfortunally they were the only volunteers I had, and they were all Black. We sat down and revamped our entire Philosophy procedures that wer made on the application. My bunsar who handled my books, my financial books, I should say, she retyped all of the forms that we used, so what we need to put in there we put in there according to how we wanted to space it, and not really respond to a structured format. So that improved the esthetical aspect of it. We worked Saturday and Sundays, evenings and mornings and when the review committee from Richmond came they gave us an excellent award. When the evaluator from Georgia State University, Dr. Joe Richardson, came he gave us an excellent for our endeavors. We knew then that we were in.
Q: This is a National Award?
A: There were twenty-two schools honored throughout the United States and other outlying areas. You had to be one of the better schools of the Nation and have a mechanism for (the student) providing those kinds of programs that would intensify the efforts of the teachers and the students.
Q: Very good, fantastic.
A: I will show it to you on my wall out there, but other than that I think you covered everything pretty good.
Q: What percentage of your teachers would you say belonged to VEA?
A: At Hampton High School, I had about 75 percent, that was VEA, NEA and HEA.
Q: What is HEA?
A: It's Hampton Education Association.
Q: Well, I certainly do thank you. This concludes this interviewer with Mr. Gant.
| Back to "G" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |