GNMS alumni becomes school principal

Published 7:42 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2019

As a sixth-grade student, Dr. Kelley Adams once walked the halls of Gardner Newman Middle School. Now, she is taking over as the school’s principal. 

“It was kind of surreal because I was in sixth grade here when the doors opened,” Adams said. “I saw GNMS as the perspective of a sixth, seventh, eighth grader and now it has come full circle when you become the principal of the school that you actually attended.” 

Adams serves as a familiar face to teachers, students and parents.   

“I taught seventh and eighth grade at Long Cane Middle … and then I moved here (GNMS) to become a graduation coach about 10 years ago,” Adams said. “Then I transitioned to sixth grade assistant principal and now I am in this role.” 

The culture at GNMS revolves around family so much that Adams was gifted a sign for her desk to remind her that the staff, students and parents are all one family. Adams said one of her goals is to maintain that culture. 

“Gardner Newman is all about family,” Adams said. “We have cultivated an environment where we lean on each other and when I say, ‘our mustang family,’ it does not just mean the family within these walls, it means our extended family, the family of staff members, everyone from bus drivers to secretaries to everybody involved.” 

Part of the message that the staff is working on for this school year is, “it takes a village,” meaning it’s more than just teachers in the classroom. 

“We have different businesses out in the community and different people coming to support us,” Adams said. “Bringing book bags or items for the teachers to thank them. We had a church come to the school building and put their hands on the front doors and pray for the school, and staff.”

Adams said she also plans to take a deep look at statistics to determine where the school can improve overall.  

“We are looking at different components to help us guide our strategic plan,” Adams said. “We’ve got to dig deeper so we can identify areas that we can grow in. Our teachers are hard workers and are ready to step it up.”