New RHS principal leaving hometown to return 'home'
By Rex Booth, RHS Principal


Posted on June 16, 2021 9:34 PM



 

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the congratulatory texts, calls, emails, and social media posts. I have read every last one of them, and they absolutely mean the world to me. I have been so overwhelmed by the amount of love shown toward my family and me, and we couldn’t be more excited to return to Russellville and get back to work both in the school district as well as the community we love so much.

Hometown is defined as a place where you grew up or have lived for a long period of time. For me, my hometown is Brownsville in Edmonson County. I spent the first 18 years of my life in this community, growing and learning, attending school and making friends, and playing sports and participating in clubs as an Edmonson County Wildcat.

I then went to college at Lindsey Wilson, but still came back to this wonderful hometown of mine regularly during extended breaks because it is where I’m from and where my family lives. However, after college those returns, like for many others, dwindled down as I began a professional career as an educator and basketball coach that took me to schools not only in Southcentral Kentucky, but also to far Western Kentucky where I met my wife and we started a family. We made our home in the western part of the state until 2015 when we had an opportunity to return to the area in 2015. This was the year I started my tenure as the school counselor and later the head basketball coach of the Russellville Panthers.

In 2019 an opportunity came along for my family and me to return to my hometown of Brownsville so that I could take over as principal at the Edmonson County 5/6 Center. It was very difficult for me to leave a community and school district that I cared so much for, but I did eventually decide to apply for and be named to that position. For the last two years, I have had the time of my life, building relationships with the students who walked through our doors on a daily basis as well as rekindling old friendships and beginning new ones with the community members in Brownsville and Edmonson County.

When I arrived, it was my goal to improve an already great school at the 5/6 Center and make it a place students couldn’t wait to come to, and would be sad to leave. A place where we made learning fun in an environment where students and staff members could feel safe and loved. It is my hope that during my time at the 5/6 Center, I have done that.

As much as I have loved being back in my hometown over these last couple of years, I would be lying if I said I felt a part of my heart never left the community of Russellville and the Russellville Independent School District. My family and I made our home there for years, we raised Lilah through her younger years where she attended both preschool and the first two years of elementary school in that school district, and both Shannon and I created and still have strong ties to the people in the Russellville community.

Therefore, when I learned that the Russellville High School Principal position was vacant, I was obviously intrigued. Early on in the process, I told myself that I was back in Edmonson County to stay. However, I couldn’t get the idea of returning to Russellville out of my head, especially after many of our friends from the community reached out to make sure we were aware that the position was open.

Knowing a piece of my heart was still in Russellville, I decided to go ahead and apply for the position and put my future in God’s hands. If I were fortunate enough to be named the next principal at Russellville High School, I would be very excited to return and would also know that would be what God wanted for my family and I. If I did not get the job, then I would happily continue my work in Edmonson County.

The afternoon I interviewed with the Principal Selection Committee, and shortly afterwards interview I got a call from the committee to offer me the position of Principal at Russellville High School. I am so excited to announce I accepted that position and look forward to returning to Russellville to be the next leader of what is already a wonderful high school in the community my family and I love so much.

This opportunity has reaffirmed to me a lesson I have learned in the last couple of years in that there is a difference between the words “hometown” and “home.” As I said before, Brownsville is my hometown and I take great pride in the community and school system in Edmonson County, but Russellville is my family’s home and we are so excited to be returning. It is a place we feel we belong, and we have so many great things to achieve here in the future.

I am beyond excited to bring back tailgating in the parking lot before being under those Friday Night Lights at Rhea Stadium in the fall and watching the Panther basketball teams compete in the winter within the electric atmosphere inside Jim Young Gymnasium. I can’t wait to see the tradition-rich Panther band compete for state championships and our super talented art students demonstrate their work at the annual art show in the lobby before going in to see the many talented students perform the Spring school drama inside the historical deGraffenried Auditorium.

However, I think the thing I am most excited about is the opportunity to conduct graduation in May of each year, when I get to look out over that respective senior class and celebrate with them the many academic accomplishments we as educators witnessed them achieve throughout their time as Panthers before shaking their hands and presenting them diplomas as we confidently send them out into the real-world as young adults ready to achieve greatness.

Russellville High School is clearly already in a good place. It is a Top 50 high school in the state of Kentucky, and has recently graduated two of the top academically achieving classes in the school’s history. The athletic teams are winning on the fields and courts, the arts programs including band, drama, and visual art are dominant as usual, and most importantly students are seeing successes in the classroom and earning multiple dual credit hours or industry certifications to prepare them for the real world at a rate that has never been seen before.

 However, what I love about the people of Russellville and the Russellville Independent School District is the competitiveness and hunger that drives each and every person who bleeds black and gold. So I know for a fact that I don’t even have to ask these individuals if they are satisfied because I already know the answer. Absolutely not!

This is only the beginning! We still have a lot of work to do as we push further and further toward the top, and I am so happy and excited to have been chosen as the next person to continue leading that charge and I cannot wait to get to work! Go Panthers!

 




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