The journalism class selected as their Semester 1 final exam to interview the new principal, Maurice El-Amin, an assistant principal at Cass Technical High School. He succeeds Damian Perry, the new principal at Mumford High School.
El-Amin answered questions from all nine students: Lazavier Cole, Deanna Dawson, DeAsia Freeman, Diamond Grey, Dominique Martin, Kris’Tia Maxwell, Malaya Reed, Christopher Robinson and Treyvon Simpson.
Following are highlights from the hour-long session.
Freeman: How did you feel about coming to Southeastern when you were first told?
El-Amin: It happened so quickly. I found out just before you. I was nervous because I can see the love that you have for Mr. Perry, but I was also excited to have this new challenge in my life.
Freeman: How do you feel now after you’ve been here?
El-Amin: I feel blessed to be here. I love how the students interact with one another and how the teachers care about the students.
Simpson: What steps you are willing to take to involve parents with the school?
El-Amin: (Two days after arriving) was my first day meeting with parents.
I have an open-door policy. If a parent has a problem, then the parent or guardian can come to meet with me, so we can work to solve the problem.
Cole: What do you like about SE?
El-Amin: I love the fact that the students and teachers have a bond, and the family like atmosphere. I am jealous that everyone knows everyone else’s name.
Cole: What do you dislike about SE?
El-Amin: I dislike that it has a negative reputation. We have to change the mindset. . People think about the old Southeastern and are now aware of all the great things about the new Southeastern. Too many people on the outside don’t know that.
Martin: What have you experienced in the time that you have been here?
El-Amin: A lot of friendly faces and an organized school.
Martin: What do you mean by organized?
El-Amin: The way you come into the building. It is very systematic and the culture in the building is warm and friendly.
Robinson: What changes are you planning to make during the duration of the school year?
El-Amin: Getting all the lights on in and outside of school; I noticed that they are very dim.
Robinson: What will you do to draw kids to attend southeastern?
El-Amin: Find ways of adding additional classes such as academic games and more AP classes.
Dawson: How do you plan to connect with the students, especially seniors?
El-Amin: I plan to talk to students more, going to their like class, like this and talk to them. I will ask seniors about future plans and encourage students to come talk to me in my office or in the hallway and speak when I see students.
Dawson: Do you feel like you are connecting now with the students since you have been here?
El-Amin: I feel like I am. I just wish that it was faster. I want to learn all your names.
Reed: Is being the principal challenging for you?
El-Amin: Yes, getting to know the students and how things work has been a challenge. And it is challenging going into a situation that is already working and finding my place.
Reed: What are some challenges you have overcome?
El-Amin: The opportunity to meet everyone and getting comfortable with everyone. What made it a big challenge was that everyone loved Mr. Perry so much.
Maxwell: Is there anything that you did at Cass that you want to do here?
El-Amin: Yes, academic games. I have been involved for 21 years. You learn beyond the classroom and you meet other students outside the state. It is a great opportunity to travel. Academic games take it to the next level.
Maxwell: Truthfully will academic games be beneficial to the students at Southeastern?
El-Amin: Yes, academic games will bring higher test scores and grades. Also, it will give students a stronger thinking process.
Gray: What is your idea of a good principal?
El-Amin: A good principal is someone who listens to staff and student needs, a problem-solver, a leader who sets an example, makes sure the building is safe, brings in programs, and new opportunities.