The new president for the one-of-a-kind cyber magnet school is wrapping up his last week as the superintendent of Madison County Schools.
Superintendent Matt Massey will hit the ground running as the cyber school president next Monday. There’s a lot to do when thinking about ‘back to school’ involves a type of school that doesn’t exist yet. The challenges are all there but starting Monday Massey will be looking at and tackling them as opportunities.
“To build a school is kind of every educator’s dream, from scratch!” Massey said.
But 300 students living and learning in the Bevill Center at UAH next year is no dream. It’s the reality Massey’s preparing for.
He says he’ll start by examining the Bevill Center and creating a curriculum. To build the curriculum he’ll work with local industry partners, universities, and government agencies involved in cyber security.
“Curriculum for our students that’s gonna have them in the workplace working directly with professionals in an incredibly unique setting,” Massey said.
The goal: produce graduates to immediately fill the 2,000-plus cyber and engineering jobs reportedly open in Alabama. Massey plans to set the bar high at the cyber school, just as he says he’s raised it in five years with Madison County Schools.
“AP scores just got released and we’ve reached new levels, higher than we’ve ever had before,” he said. “It’s really gonna be an example that others can kind of follow. We’ve done it on an extremely, extremely tight budget and we’ve made improvements in all facets, from our services that we provide students outside of the classrooms to improving our safety to improving our facilities. We’re not gonna have any classes in portables.”
Leaving is bittersweet, but the cyber school means getting back to a part of a job he loves.
“When I shook hands at graduation, it was 1500 seniors that came across the stage,” Massey began. “And so as I’ve been out of the classroom for five years those students, there are so many faces and names. You’re like, ‘Man I wish I could’ve spent more time in the classroom and getting to know kids’ and that kind of thing.”
“So you get back to that,” said WZDX News.
Massey hopes local industries continue to get involved and raise money to build the cyber school. An interim superintendent is expected to be announced at the Madison County Schools board meeting Thursday.