Brian Perry, vice principal, and Melissa Hayes, principal, will pull double duty this year by working at both Robins Elementary and Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Ala. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp
Robins Elementary to share principals with Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary

by Holly L. Birchfield
78th ABW/PA

8/8/2008 - Robins Air Force Base, GA -- Melissa Hayes and Brian Perry have elementary education covered for the Air Force.

Ms. Hayes, principal at Robins Elementary School and Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary School near Montgomery, Ala., and Mr. Perry, vice principal at the schools, are pulling double duty for the bases that serve the Air Force's elementary educational needs.

It's a first for the duo this school year.

Ms. Hayes said when Bill Rose, the previous Robins Elementary School principal, retired, the school's superintendent began considering what would be the next move for the school's administration.

"Enrollment historically has gone down over the last few years," she said. "He asked if Brian and I would be the administrative team for this school as well as for Maxwell, which means we would cover both of the Air Force schools for the Department of Defense."

Last school year, there were 141 students enrolled at Robins Elementary School. There are currently 125 students enrolled at the school for the 2008-09 school year.

While the principal and vice principal are early in the year at the schools, Ms. Hayes said she feels good about the year ahead.

"We opened (Robins) on Aug. 4 and we opened our first day of school with teachers at Maxwell on Aug. 1," she said. "Brian and I are working pretty much as a tag team. He will spend the majority of his time at Robins and then I will spend the majority of the time at Maxwell."

Ms. Hayes said the arrangement will allow someone to be at one of the schools at all times.

Mr. Perry said he and Ms. Hayes diligently prepared over the summer for the new experience and are working hard to make the transition as seamless as possible.

"Melissa and I work really well together," he said. "We communicate very well through e-mail and over the phone constantly. We feel like we're prepared."

Ms. Hayes said she thinks her team is on track for a good year.

"So far, everything has gone smoothly," she said. "We have worked out schedules and talked through things. We've always been a good tag team anyway so we just thought it will carry over."

The principal said the combination of good planning and a great staff will make for a great year.

"For me, it's about getting to know the teachers and how they work together, and getting to know the students," she said. "Brian and I are really big into building a cohesive team that works well to best serve the military children."

Mr. Perry said he and his partner in education have worked together with base leadership at both bases to increase the schools' enrollment.

The vice principal said he hopes the school year will bring new experiences and a greater excitement about education for the kids.

Angel Hansen, Robins PTO president and mother of three Robins Elementary School students, said after having a lengthy conversation with Mr. Perry, she feels much better about the new administrative arrangement.

"I think he's going to do a great job," she said. "He has great ideas. I believe he will be great for the school."

Mrs. Hansen said she thinks Mr. Perry will do a good job of working with parents to meet students' needs.

"He has an open door policy for us to come in if we have questions or ideas," she said. "He's very open, so I think it's going to work out well."