TAMMY MARION

Tammy Marion shows her Georgia Assistant Principal of the Year plaque from the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.

Tammy Marion is in her 10th year as assistant principal at Mary Persons, and she is the 2019-20 Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) Assistant Principal of the Year. As such she is eligible to become the National Assistant Principal of the Year this summer. 

Marion has a background as a coach and team player and while she says she is honored to be recognized, especially by an organization of her peer administrators, she says the recognition really is for the success Mary Persons has in serving its students. 

“All I did was tell our story, about all the things we have going on here,” said Marion. 

After being nominated for the Assistant Principal of the Year Award, Marion completed an extensive application that was reviewed along with the applications from other candidates around the state by a committee of seven or eight people. They chose five finalists, then chose one middle school assistant principal and one high school assistant principal before naming Marion as top overall. 

After winning, she had to complete another application for the award at the national level. She will attend the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NSSP) Summer Conference in July in Washington, D.C. along with 44 other candidates for the honor at the national level. This will be the first time Marion has attended the national conference.

Marion said the story she told about Mary Persons is about making the high school experience something all students remember as a productive and safe part of their lives. She said her goal, and that of Mary Persons, is to motivate all students, whatever they bring with them, to do their best. Her application explains the positive reinforcement program at Mary Persons called “CHAMP” that “has built a sense of belonging to an already close-knit community” that revolves around “Academics, Arts and Athletics”.

“We have a strong commitment to educating the whole child and seeing students for more than just their classroom performance,” writes Marion. “It takes an entire community to achieve the graduation of each student.”

Marion brought experience as an assistant principal at elementary, middle school and high schools with her to Mary Persons as well as experience as a classroom teacher and athletic coach. She graduated from Griffin High School in 1987 and earned her Bachelors in Science and her Masters in Education Leadership from the University of Georgia and her Specialist degree from the University of West Georgia. 

She began her teaching career in Griffin as a math & science and health/P.E. Teacher at Taylor Street Middle School, where she coached basketball, tennis and softball. She moved to Pike County High School where she taught health/P.E., coached tennis and was advisor to the student council. She subsequently served as assistant principal at the middle school and elementary school in Pike County. She said she found that working with students and staff at the high school level was her passion.

Wanting to broaden her experience by working with another school system, she accepted the assistant principal position at Mary Persons 10 years ago without expecting to be here for a decade. She is one of three assistant principals at Mary Persons, with her focus being instruction.

“I fell in love with Mary Persons and stayed,” said Marion. “My passion is instruction. That’s what I do each and every day, and I love it.”

Being an administrator meant that Marion had to give up coaching sports at her schools, but that did not cut down on the long hours she works. There must be an administrator at each sporting event as well as many of the school’s other extracurricular activities. She has lots of meetings, planning and other responsibilities. Official school hours are from 7:30 a.m. -4 p.m., but Marion’s day often doesn’t end until 9:30or 10 p.m. 

She said she appreciates the support of her family in allowing her to put the time in she needs to for Mary Persons. She is married to Shannon and they have two sons, Hunter, 19, and Hagan, 17. She said her sons grew up on the tennis court and basketball court and were always open to coming to where she was. Her mother and extended family have also been very supportive of her and have helped create her outlook on education. 

Hunter is now playing baseball for Gordon State College, and Marion is enjoying her time in the stands cheering for him. Hagan plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College next year with a spot on ABAC’s golf team. When Marion has a chance to get a sport in herself these days, she plays a round of golf. 

Some of the accomplishments at Mary Persons of which she is proud include the year and a half research she led before the school moved to block scheduling, which has been a success and allows students to explore more areas through electives. She is proud of helping develop a master schedule that allows teachers to plan together. There is a Flexible Learning Program, a full time online program, dual enrollment, ACCESS program and various opportunities and supports for students that don’t do their best in the regular classroom environment. There are required walk-throughs with teachers four times a year, weekly meetings with department heads and meetings with a parent council and a student advisory council for feedback. She enjoys working with professional learning for the staff and mentoring teachers working toward advanced degrees. 

Asked about her favorite moments, Marion named graduation and when students come back after graduation and share their successes. 

“It’s a great profession,” she said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”develop a master schedule that allows teachers to plan together. There is a Flexible Learning Program, a full time online program, dual enrollment, ACCESS program and various opportunities and supports for students that don’t do their best in the regular classroom environment. There are required walk-throughs with teachers four times a year, weekly meetings with department heads and meetings with a parent council and a student advisory council for feedback. She enjoys working with professional learning for the staff and mentoring teachers working toward advanced degrees. 

Asked about her favorite moments, Marion named graduation and when students come back after graduation and share their successes. 

“It’s a great profession,” she said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”