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May 27, 2010   Email to Friend 

By Melissa Martin
(334) 613-5448
May 27, 2010

Hal Horton
According to Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, "We expected that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy. We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats -- and then they figured out where to drive it."

To set the path for a successful career as principal, Hal Horton used what he learned from Good to Great and focused his efforts on getting the right people on the bus.

His objective? Create the strongest educational system possible.

As such, Horton believes hiring personnel who understand the purpose of Highland Park Elementary School is essential to its success as an educational institution. It's because of his passion for strengthening the education system that Horton earned his place as one of two principals honored this year in the Alfa Teacher of the Month program.

As June's honoree, he will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. His school, a division of Muscle Shoals City Schools, will receive a matching contribution from the Alabama Farmers Federation. "The principal of the school sets the tone and expectations for the school," explained Horton, but "teachers make the most impact on learning than any other component of a child's education."

Horton's contributions aren't limited to the four walls of his office. Rather, they're found in each Highland Park classroom, throughout the Muscle Shoals community and across the computer screen of anyone who logs on to AskAPrincipal.com, a Web site he purchased to give parents a venue to express concerns and seek feedback in a non-threatening environment. "The Web site also provides ways for principals to mentor other principals," said Horton.

"Dr. Horton promotes educational excellence at our school on a daily basis," explained Highland Park teacher Christie Orr.

Horton received his bachelor's degree in vocational and technical education from Athens State College and received his master's and education specialist degrees from the University of North Alabama. A member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, Horton received his doctorate in educational leadership from Samford University in 2002.

During 2010, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation are honoring one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state board districts, two principals and two private school teachers. Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of AlfaFarmers.org.

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