Words by Anna Lee Vaughn | Images by Justin Hunter
John McGraw was recently appointed as Carbon Hill Elementary/Junior High’s new Assistant Principal. His career in education is extensive and spurred by his service in the Army and his two core values of faith and family.
“I’m very patriotic, but I value family and my faith. I believe that God comes first, and family is a very close second,” John states.
John grew up in Birmingham, eventually moving to Fayette County and graduating from Hubbertville High School. After joining the Army, he spent five years as an Arctic Paratrooper in Alaska and planned to attend Officer Candidate School. However, because of his wife and daughter, John decided not to stay away from home more than necessary.
He and his wife went to college, attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Samford University in Birmingham to complete master’s degrees. Pursuing their love of history, the pair became teachers, with John receiving his Master’s Degree in Education Leadership.
Since then, he has taught at the Last Chance Alternative School Program, Camp Mitnick for Troubled Males, and several schools in Tuscaloosa and Walker counties before accepting his current position at Carbon Hill.
“My military experience was very good for me. It helped me to grow and mature, and I got a lot of great knowledge and experience from it. I think it helped prepare me as a leader because I became a sergeant, so that helped prepare me for this leadership position that I have now,” John states.
John’s main goal as Assistant Principal is to get back to the basics, ensuring children can properly read, write, and do basic math; this goal is motivated by the loss of in-person classes and discipline due to the pandemic. John is also looking forward to starting a Chess program, something he has been responsible for in his previous teaching positions.
“The most meaningful part of my job is to make sure that kids are learning. I want to support the teachers so they can teach, students can learn, and they can get the skills they need to be successful.” John continues, “Chess is such a great game because it helps students think in different ways when they think they’re just playing a game. They’re learning how to problem solve, they’re learning social skills, and they’re learning pre-algebra skills. It helps them to think, which is what every teacher wants their students to do.”
The Walker Leader congratulates Mr. McGraw on this new position, and we look forward to what the 2023-2024 school year has in store! WL