“It’s about loving, caring, and kindness.”
By Allyson Dix
Government Community News
In the first of a three-part series of “A Path to Principalship,” three local principals in Metcalfe County discuss the avenues they have taken to get to where they are today.
The role of a principal consists of many responsibilities including being a leader while cultivating leadership in others and shaping visions to help create success. A common theme with our local principals revolves around building relationships and incorporating their Christian values. All the while, helping implement and foster positive learning experiences and academic achievements for their students.
Before becoming the Principal of the Metcalfe County Elementary School, Michael Gill spent some time navigating different paths before figuring out which direction to choose for a career.
After his high school graduation from Monroe County High School in 1988, where he was born and raised, he set out to pursue the same career path that his great, great grandfather Sam Gill had taken decades earlier.
Sam Gill was a pharmacist during The Great Depression and Gill found himself wondering if being a pharmacist was for him. He decided to change fields and study electrical engineering at the University of Kentucky. Again, Gill wasn’t enjoying those classes and was unsure what he wanted to do long term.
It is common for college students to change directions amidst their classes and Gill said he had over 100 credit hours before he returned home to Tompkinsville and landed a summer job at the former Eaton in Glasgow. That summer job turned into full-time and Gill continued working for nearly a decade.
“After three or four years of working at Eaton, I decided I needed to continue pursuing my education because I had put a lot of time in it already,” Gill said.
During this time, he also helped coach football in Monroe County from 2002-07 and realized how much he enjoyed being a part of the students’ lives. It was a turning point for him after many years of being unsure what he wanted to pursue a career in.
“It really motivated me to become a teacher and since I have always enjoyed math, I became a 7th grade math teacher at the Monroe County Middle School for over five years,” Gill said. And thus began his path to becoming a principal.
Gill went on to complete his Administrative degree and became Assistant Principal at both Caverna Middle and High Schools as well as the Migrant Coordinator and Athletic Director within the Caverna school district.
When asked what he felt was one of his most major accomplishments, Gill said, “More than anything I’m a proud dad.”
“I’m very proud of my family,” Gill continued, “I’ve been married to my wife, Amy, for 20 years and we’ve raised two children together.” The Gills have resided in Glasgow for 21 years and have two children: Jake, 18, and Kennedy, who is in the 7th grade. Amy is also an educator at Temple Hill Elementary in Barren County.
“It’s been a good life with my family and words can’t express how proud I am of them,” he said.
Gill said one of his biggest hurdles he has overcome was the uncertainty of what he wanted to do career-wise in the beginning. “When I realized how much I loved being around kids, it was a no-brainer and that’s why I’ve been in education for so long now,” he said.
Gill says, despite being an administrator, he still doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to do whatever needs to be done. There are times that Gill will pick up garbage or take it out for disposal at the elementary school. He does what needs to be done regardless of what that might be.
“In the long run, it hasn’t hurt to have the path I’ve taken and it has really molded me into who I am today by being both a blue-collar worker and a white-collar worker in the span of my lifetime,” Gill said.
His six-year tenure as principal brings a lot of responsibilities and Gill said one of the most important aspects of his position is showing the students that they are loved and cared for.
Gill, also a Deacon at South Green Church of Christ in Glasgow, said, “I think it’s so important to bring a male role model into the school for the kids each and every day and that really ties into my beliefs as a Christian.”
“It’s about love, caring, and kindness, and I try to instill that in my staff, too,” Gill said, “We need to show our kids we love them and want them to be here each and every day. That’s what I hope comes across from me to them is that we show it’s not just about instruction and the books, but it’s that we care about them, too.”
Safety, especially in this day and time, is just as important.
“Those things, to me, are what it’s really about,” he said, “Making sure they feel safe, secure, and loved so we can teach them and hopefully make them better citizens in life.”
Each morning, Gill said he announces to the staff and students to remember what “Hornet Pride” looks like: being the best individual you can be each day.
“We just want them to come to school and have a positive experience,” he added.
As principal, Gill said he most likely spends more time in school than he does with his own family and addresses the students and their families as his family, too.
“I always say my Metcalfe Elementary family is an extended family of mine,” he concluded, “All the kids and their families are, to me, family as well because we spend so much time together.”