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New principal takes reigns at central school

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Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo By Ashley Hunter, August 17, 2016

David Chambers (front) is the new Principal at Madison County Central School. Chambers brings an extensive background in the education field with him to MCCS, along with a desire to see MCCS improve and become a highly rated school. Pictured in the back, from left to right, are school staff: Natasha Givens, Lisa Daniels and Tracy Pickles.

Ashley Hunter

Greene Publishing, Inc.

David Chambers comes to the Madison County Central School (MCCS) as its new principal with 29 years of education experience behind him, as well as plenty of heart for the students enrolled at the central school.

Chambers grew up in North Carolina and attended Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, NC., where he became involved in student teaching, which would lead to his discovery of the passion he holds for the education and encouragement of the younger generation.

“Getting involved in teaching, I saw that I could make an impact,” said Chambers. “I thought, 'I can do this.'” After taking part in student teaching, Chambers said he attended a minority teacher job fair at Winston-Salem State University. Equipped with a resume for each state that was represented at the job fair by a school, Chambers said he went to work getting his name out there and promoting his desire to be hired as a teacher.

Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Chambers received his first teaching job as a ninth and tenth grade social studies/economics teacher in Newton, Mass. After two years, however, the school began to face financial difficulties and Chambers accounts that he was laid off.  Despite knowing that he desired to be in an education-related career, Chambers moved into a different industry, as he became involved in the retail business.  Becoming employed by Saks Fifth Avenue, a high end department store that also boasts of being owned by the Hudson Bay Company, which is the oldest commercial corporation in North America.

“I liked retail,” said Chambers, but it wasn't his calling. After being nudged by a friend, Chambers left the retail business after three years and returned to education and became a middle school social studies teacher in Cape Cod, Mass. “Thats where I really learned to teach and engage kids,” said Chambers.

After a period of time, Chambers’ then-fiance, (whom he would later marry) was studying for her Ph.D in second language acquisition in Illinois, so Chambers made the decision to move to Illinois to be near her.  There, he got a job teaching high school level social studies in Champaign, Il. During his second year teaching in Illinois, Chambers was promoted to Dean of Students. Chambers held the title for approximately five years before deciding to move again, this time Chambers and his fiance decided to move back to the east coast to be near their parents. After that move, Chambers started work at a magnet school for global and international studies that focused on students in sixth through 12th grade.  There, he again became Dean of Students, and would later become the school's assistant principal and acting-principal from 2000 through 2006. During that time, Chambers married his fiance, Stacy Chambers in August of 2004.

Following, Chambers took his first principal job at East Windsor High School in Connecticut.

He would later step into a job position at a nursing academy at Hartford Public High School, in Hartford, Conn., in the hopes of turning around the low-performing school.  For seven years, Chambers helped move the school from its low-end performance into one of a higher caliber.  The school, which originally had a low graduation rate, was boosted to a 90 percent graduation rate of their students.

Following his time with the Hartford Public High School, Chambers joined LEAD Connecticut, an organization of turn-around principals that received professional development and were given the opportunity to tour various schools in New York, Chicago and Boston that had been given drastic improvement changes.  The group opened the way for Chambers to begin working at New Briton High School, in New Briton, Conn., which was one of the two largest schools in the state of Connecticut. “We moved our graduation rate from 50 percent to somewhere just north of 70 percent within a few years,” said Chambers. “It was good to see. We were looking at how our kids were coming in and out of our school, and we decided we needed to do more [for them] within our school.”

It was from New Briton High School that Chambers came to Florida to take the principalship at MCCS.

Chambers' wife, Stacy Chambers is currently the director of Florida State University Schools (FSUS) and had moved down to Florida a year before Chambers due to her job with FSUS, while Chambers finished his term at New Briton and sold their home.

Chambers and his wife both reside in Tallahassee, and Chambers drives to Madison every work-day, but says that the drive isn't bad and, to a degree, he enjoys it.

To outline his future plans for MCCS and the teachers, staff and students, Chambers has laid out a series of “If-Then” actions. “If we individually and collectively know our [students] in terms of their academic progress, then we will be able to provide academic instruction that is necessary for them to grow,” said Chambers. “If we [provide] high-quality instruction for our students, then they will be able to grow academically and will show evidence in their learning gains and proficiency scores.”

“If our students grow academically from the instruction we give, then Madison County Central School will increase in it's overall grade – thats what we do,” added Chambers. “A lot of times, schools don't talk the language of business, but this is really a business. If we are able to have our kids be proficient and higher-leveled as they go into high school, they will have a greater foundation to build on as they go into [various] degrees of study.”

Chambers' hope for the central school is to see teachers and administrative staff become better honed in their craft.  “Teachers don't need to have a whole lot on their plate. They just need to be able to teach high-quality instruction in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning,” said Chambers. “If we can create those perimeters where it's free of distraction and kids have predictability, if we get routines and culture-climate down, then teachers can teach.”  He also plans to highlight improvements within the school and staff, and hopes to promote those who play a part in the creating the learning-atmosphere he wants to surround MCCS. “When we see areas of accomplishment, we need to share that,” said Chambers.

When asked if he found anything unique about MCCS that he had not encountered at other schools, Chambers admitted that in many way, every school has been much like the others he has worked in. But there was one was in particular that MCCS stood unique. “There is a familiarity of folks here; it's [the] small, hometown values,” said Chambers. “What I think is really unique is [that] there is a lot of caring for kids here. One of the most important things that can happen in a school is for the adults to really like and enjoy [being around] kids. I think we are seeing that here.”  Chambers hopes to see teachers being intentional in the methods they teach and the words they say, and for the students to intentionally better themselves through their education.

When he is not working, Chambers says that he enjoys being active and recently joined a baseball team for players over the ages of 45. He enjoys getting out and riding his motorcycle and he and his wife enjoy being active in their community and going out with friends.

Chambers has one son that is currently in the military and another son through marriage.

 

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