By Laura McAlister
When students return to Brookwood Forest Elementary Aug. 16, they’ll be greeted by a new principal.
Nathan Pitner replaces Yvette Faught as principal. Faught retired at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
“I have some awful big shoes to fill I know,” Pitner said. “But it is nice to be able to come into a school that has done so well and is so successful.”
This will be Pitner’s first time as principal, but he’s not new to Mountain Brook. In fact, he’s spent his entire career with the system.
Pitner comes to Brookwood Forest from Cherokee Bend Elementary, where he was an assistant principal for four years. Before that, he taught third grade and sixth grade at Mountain Brook Elementary for a total of four years.
Although he didn’t attend Mountain Brook schools, he said he still believes he’s a “product” of the school system.
“In Mountain Brook we like to talk about being a ‘product’ of the system,” he said. “I may not have gone to school here, but professionally, I am a product of Mountain Brook schools, which I’m very proud of and feel awfully fortunate.”
That being so, Pitner said he understands the importance of the school to the community.
He started slowly moving over to Brookwood Forest at the end of the last school year, he said, and Faught worked with him to help ease the changeover.
“It’s been a pretty seamless transition,” he said. “We structured it so I could get over and meet the teachers. I think about it as joining the Brookwood Forest family. One of the first words I heard here was ‘family.’”
In addition to the family of teachers and staff at the school, Pitner has been working with parents and members of the Parent Teacher Organization to get to know the school community.
One of his goals as principal is to bring teachers, parents and students together.
“The days where a teacher stands in front of the room and teaches are pretty much over,” Pitner said. “We’re breaking down the walls. More and more we are partners with students and their families. That’s job No. 1.”
While he’s spent this summer becoming acquainted with his new school and staff, Pitner said the start of the school year on Aug. 16 will bring new challenges. The biggest will be getting to know the approximately 500 students at the kindergarten-sixth grade school.
At Cherokee Bend, he was known for knowing all his students and forming relationships with them. He wants the same to be true at Brookwood Forest Elementary, he said.
“I want to get to know all the students. I want to know each of their names and something about them,” he said. “That’s what I’ll really miss about Cherokee Bend, all the students.
“But I’m excited to get to know everyone here and to be able to sit and eat lunch with them and just get to know them all.”