As school bells ring out across Madison County Schools today, Mark Minskey is proving you don’t have to be a kid to be excited about the first day of school.
“It’s a new start,” Minskey said. “We take what we’ve learned from the previous year, but it is like a new beginning for everybody. It’s a new beginning for teachers, it’s a new beginning for students. It’s such an exciting time in the school system and it’s so much fun to be part of that.”
The 2019-20 school year will be even more of a new beginning for Minskey, who assumed the role of interim superintendent in July, after Matt Massey resigned to become president of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. Having spent the past few years as deputy superintendent, a role in which he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the school system, he is no stranger to the ins and outs of Madison County Schools.
Construction is the most visible sign of what’s new this school year. Central is receiving a new cafeteria and classrooms; Sparkman Middle a new car rider entrance, bus drop off and pick up area, and coming in May a new office and front entrance; and New Market students will no longer have to step outside to go to certain areas of the school, thanks to a new connection corridor. Projects are ongoing at Sparkman High, but the football field has been turfed – the first for the school system – and a state-of-the-art performing arts center is expected to be complete by fall 2020. The school system as a whole has also undergone a lot of safety upgrades.
“Our goal is to improve our safety. We had a safety audit last year, and we’ve taken the recommendations and tried to implement as many things as possible,” Minskey said.
Academically, Madison County Schools leads the state in the number of students in Advancement Placement classes and qualifying scores. Whether it be academics, athletics or the arts, the “elite school system” strives to “provide the offerings that students need. We want to challenge the students at every level,” Minskey said.
Students continue to benefit from professional learning communities, as teachers, instead of confining their lessons plans to their class, work together with all educators at their grade level, to ensure students are working on the same objectives.
“It’s about making sure that it doesn’t matter who your teacher is. Your child is going to be cared about and they’re going to receive a very high quality education,” Minskey said.
It’s a school system Minskey and his family believes in, as his wife also works with Madison County Schools as a speech language pathologist, and his daughter is enrolled in elementary school. Prior to becoming deputy superintendent, Minskey served as the principal of New Market School. An educator since 1992, he received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining Madison County Schools, he held several principal positions in North Carolina.
“We’re vested,” he said. “We plan on continuing our careers here, and I really want to retire here. I love the area. It has been a blessing for us and our family.”