Melanie Harris hired as new principal at East Elementary School

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New EES Principal Melanie Harris. (CCS)

CULLMAN, Ala. — East Elementary School has found its next principal.

Melanie Harris, who most recently served as the assistant principal at Hibbett Intermediate School in Florence City Schools, will be the new principal at East Elementary in Cullman. She was officially hired Friday morning by the Cullman City Schools board.

“Cullman is known for its academic excellence, and I am eager to be a part of this prestigious system. I am humbled by the trust of Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and the board in my abilities and belief in the vision and passion I have for students,” Harris said. “With my experience in grades K-8, I was drawn to the East job because of the grade levels present at the school and the wonderful school climate showcased throughout their report card, social media and more.”

Harris has served as an assistant principal in Florence for the past three years. Before that, she spent four years as an instructional partner at Harlan Elementary School and six years as a teacher at Florence Middle School. She was most recently named the assistant principal of the year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

“I am excited about Melanie Harris and how she will have an immediate impact on the students, faculty and parents of East Elementary School,” Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “Ms. Harris brings quality experience in the classroom as an instructional coach, and as an assistant principal to the Cullman City School System.”

Kallhoff went on to note that Harris brings a diverse skillset he believes will serve her well leading East Elementary into the future.

“From my conversations with her and her previous supervisors, it is clear she understands the importance of relationships from the principal’s seat as well as the task of balancing student safety, school structure, communication and instructional leadership,” he said.

Harris takes over for outgoing principal David Wiggins, who retired at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

As for her approach to leadership, Harris said she truly aims to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers.

“I believe the principal sets the culture and climate for the school and it is vital that the principal model those expectations. I believe the crucial elements of a positive climate and culture are effective communication, trust, and learning, building and nurturing relationships,” she said. “It should be a shared responsibility between the principal, parents and community to create an environment that empowers every student to develop their full potential, not only academically but also socially and emotionally. Together, we will foster an inclusive and nurturing environment where each child feels valued, supported, and inspired to reach for their dreams. My aim is to equip our students with the skills they need to thrive in an ever-changing world and to encourage them to be excellent every day in every way!”

Parents will soon have a chance to meet and get to know Harris, as the school system and East Elementary PTO have scheduled a meet and greet at the board of education central office on Thursday, June 8 from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 PM.