At the end of summer break, a new and exciting school year began for Piedmont High School. New students are roaming the halls with confusion about where to go or what to do but are greeted by the new principal, Adam Clemons, with a simple “hello.”
The Piedmont Journal sat down with Clemons to share his toughs about his new position.
Journal: Tell us Mr. Clemons what are something’s about yourself that you would like to share.
Clemons: I am a seventh generation Alabamian. The first Clemons came to St. Clair County prior to Alabama becoming a state. I grew up in Madison County, Alabama, near New Market, Alabama. My mother is an educator and my dad is retired from the Department of Defense. I graduated from Buckhorn High School, in New Market, in 1995. I graduated from Auburn University with my undergraduate degree, Jacksonville State with my master’s, and Argosy University with my doctorate. I am married to a speech pathologist, and we have four children. I have taught middle and high school for seven years in Adairsville and Shannon, Ga. I have been an administrator for the past five years in Armuchee, GA.
Journal: What were the factors that brought you to accept this job?
Clemons: I wanted to return to Alabama to live and raise my kids. I was attracted to Piedmont City Schools because of the reputation that the system has for technology and academic innovation.
Journal: What do you like about Piedmont High School?
Clemons: I tell our students every day that I believe in them because I do. I was fortunate to have folks who believed in me, including as recently as Superintendent Matt Akin, when he hired me. The faculty and staff of PHS believe in our students. As my mother always says, “You got to believe.”
Journal: What, if any, changes would you like to see implemented at the school?
Clemons: Our theme this year is “Believe in the Promise of Piedmont.” That promise is the students that come through our doors. The faculty and staff of Piedmont High are dedicated to preparing each student for a career or college. In twenty or thirty years from now, Piedmont, Alabama, will be a better place because we educators at PHS believe in the promise of Piedmont.
Journal: The sports program at Piedmont high school has a long standing reputation for excellence in performance, is it a challenge to balance the academics with sports programs? And if so how?
Clemons: When I travel around the state, people know about Piedmont for our academic achievements and excellence in extra-curricular activities. We are fortunate to have Coach Steve Smith as our athletic director and Jamie Thomas as our band director. Coach Smith is a fine man who cares not only about our athletes, but every student that is in our school. Mr. Thomas gives his all to make sure our band is top notch. We have many coaches and directors who make PHS a great place for students to be involved and connected.
With over half of our student population involved in an extra-curricular activity, we have natural leaders who help lead the way for our school.
Journal: How does Piedmont help prevent bullying?
Clemons: We have many ways that we try to prevent bullying. Research show that the biggest preventive measure to bullying are by-standards telling bullies that what they are doing is not right, and telling victims that they are by their side. It is very important that victims communicate to the faculty and staff that they are being bullied. We have a tough anti-harassment policy that we follow within our system. Additionally, PHS will be conducting anonymous surveys to determine who our bullies are with the goal being to provide corrective instruction to those who are identified.
Journal: What role, if any, do you think religion should play in school?
Clemons: I would ask that people would pray for our students, our teachers, our staff members, and me every day.
Journal: How do the employees at Piedmont school different for your old school?
Clemons: I’ve never seen a more dedicated group of individuals who put the students first. From making the hallways clean to answering the phone in a friendly manner to teaching with all their heart, every individual at Piedmont High goes above and beyond. We are truly a family at PHS.