By Charlene Holmes
Dr. Fred Primm has been Superintendent of the Bessemer City Schools District for two years. He said in that two year span, Board Members, the community and he have fostered and nurtured a good relationship and are “working together.”
Having served as Superintendent in another district for six years before coming to Bessemer, Dr. Primm said, in hindsight, “I don’t think I would have done anything differently. My previous experience helped. I just had to acclimate myself to this system.”
“I feel great about the system. It has potential. It was a good system when I arrived. My goal is to leave the system better than when I arrived.”
As Chief Executive Officer and Chief Instructional Officer, Dr. Primm “oversees and is held responsible for the day to day operations of the system in every aspect,” he explained.
He mentioned three things that he would like for the public to know about the Bessemer System. “We care about our students. We strive for excellence especially in the area of curriculum and instruction. We hold ourselves accountable,” for what we do and “we embrace accountability from parents and the public.”
He continued, “I am a strategic and consistent person” and that helps a lot.
Dr. Primm said the system has created a Strategic Plan with four goals that serve as a framework for improving the District that will be shared through a series of public meetings.
He said a concern right now is the “decrease in enrollment” and we are “focusing on increasing enrollment”, he added.
When asked what he thought could make the system better, he said, “Providing students and teachers with the resources that they need to be successful.”
He mentioned the transition of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from James A. Davis Middle School to the old unoccupied Jess Lanier High School building. Before the decision was made, “there were many considerations,” he said.
He continued, “After a survey was generated by the Parent Advisory Council, the students and staff decided that Bessemer City Middle School would be the new name and the Purple Tigers would be the mascot. Furthermore, this move would promote camaraderie throughout the school system.
Negotiations have begun with City Officials about selling the old Davis Middle School building.
Dr. Primm suggested the public should become more educated about all of the components of the Alabama Accountability Act. “Parents should do their homework about this new law.”
Where does Dr. Primm see himself in five years? “Hopefully, in five years we will have addressed all of the critical needs of the students and enhanced the curriculum and have one of the best school systems in the state and the country.”