Salaar Khan and Gretchen Neary
Freeman’s administrative staff is full of familiar faces in new roles along with a new associate principal. First, John Marshall has stepped into his role as Principal of Douglas Southall Freeman High School. Mr. Marshall said the biggest change he is experiencing during the transition from associate principal to principal is getting used to being out front symbolically, “Being the face of the school is different than being behind the scenes and letting Mey do all that,” said Mr. Marshall. As for goals for the new school year, “It’s really important that we maintain our level of excellence, despite all the changes,” he said. This school year brought changes to all aspects of Freeman, including administrative changes, an enormous schedule change, and a significant change in the school’s cell phone policy. “It’s also important that we push forward, that we’re not just resting on tradition and history but that we are making sure we are leading the county and state, not just maintaining where we are,” said Mr. Marshall.
His second-in-command is Richard Butler, the new Associate Principal. This is Mr. Butler’s 34th year in various schools. He has previously worked at Hermitage, Tucker, and Henrico. Mr. Butler is familiar with the in’s and out’s of Freeman already because his daughter graduated from Freeman last year. His main role as associate principal is to organize the course schedules for students and teachers, and as a self-proclaimed “master schedule geek,” Mr. Butler is excited about the process. The 2019-2020 school year also marks Mr. Butler’s “sixth senior class as an administrator.” “That’s probably my favorite thing to do, helping the senior class get through convocation, and everything involved with senior year up to graduation,” said Mr. Butler. During Mr. Butler’s first week of school, he noticed a few unique things about DSF. “They call this a Freeman family, I have really felt that as an adult, as much or more as anywhere else I’ve been. People, not only adults, but students have been really friendly and welcoming. That’s pretty positive,” he said.
Ms. Steele also stepped into a new role this year. Formally, she was an administrator and social studies teacher, but now she is an assistant principal. Her list of responsibilities is long: “I oversee the social studies, world languages, and ESL departments. I am the 11th grade administrator and for discipline purposes I am the administrator for alphabets R-Z. I oversee transportation, teacher appreciation, and because I am the 11th grade administrator, I’m responsible for prom. Freshman advisory, I’m also overseeing that,” said Ms. Steele. While Ms. Steele misses “the kids and being in front of the kids” as well as “teaching history since I’m a history buff and interacting with the content,” she has found that her new position allows her “to interact with kids and parents in a different way. I have more contact with parents, more contact with community members so it’s kind of a totally different thing,” she said.
Ms. Hollowell and Mr. Sanders are returning as assistant principals, rounding out Freeman’s enthusiastic and experienced administrative staff.