Morrison named administrator of year

Published 12:11 am Sunday, April 10, 2011

ERIC J. SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — McLaurin Elementary’s Alice Morrison gives a thumbs up to Cam’Ron Harris as she passes him in the hallway Friday afternoon at McLaurin Elementary in Natchez.

NATCHEZ — Alice Morrison stood out enough to earn the Natchez-Adams School District 2010 administrator of the year, but the McLaurin Elementary School principal said taking all the credit would go against the very reason why she is an effective administrator.

Under Morrison’s leadership, McLaurin’s rating jumped in one year from “At Risk of Failing” to “Successful,” but Morrison said depending on others is what makes her good at her job.

“We, that’s a powerful pronoun,” she said, nodding her head.

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Knowing she cannot run a successful school by herself is the key to getting it done, Morrison said.

For her, it is all about communication.

“You have to build relationships and a trust,” she said.

She said she does not dictate to teachers but holds them accountable. Her job is to see the teachers have what they need to reach the level of success she expects.

“If I set high expectations I know I have to provide every resource they need,” Morrison said.

Whether its extra copy paper for accelerated math programs or rewiring computers so teachers can use their Promethean boards the way in which they want, those needs are Morrison’s job to meet, she said.

And when copy paper cannot fix a problem in the classroom, Morrison lends an ear.

“You have to listen,” Morrison said.

“I began to realize that at least if I take the time to listen, even if I can’t fix (the problem), that means a lot to people,” she said.

Morrison said achieving a successful status based on last years test scores has certainly set the bar higher this year.

“(Scoring a successful rating) is a challenge; it’s a very good challenge and our teachers are really, really trying to rise to that bar,” Morrison said.

Morrison said McLaurin functions like a team, and all of the members want to do well.

“Me wanting it is one thing, but they want it,” she said.

“They have tasted success, and they want more of it; it feels good to them.”

Morrison said she also holds students accountable in ways to which they can relate.

Data boards containing class test scores are displayed in most classrooms, showing students where they are and where they need to be.

Even for the recent practice MCT2 test, she said she went to every classroom to talk to the children about the importance of doing their best.

“This is your education,” Morrison said she told the third and fourth graders.

Before the practice test, Morrison used the intercom to offer the highest scoring class a treat and say inspirational words.

“I got on intercom and said, ‘Are you ready for the challenge?’ They all like that stuff,” she said.

Education is Morrison’s passion, and she loves being administrator because of, and not in spite, of its challenges.

“It’s a new challenge every day,” she said.