Belgreen's Pounders adjusts to principal role
Franklin County Times
BELGREEN – Belgreen High School has a new principal this fall, but there shouldn't be much of an adjustment period.
That's because Steve Pounders, who was officially hired in July to replace longtime principal Eddie Britton, is a familiar face after coaching and teaching at Belgreen for 27 years and then spending the last two years as the school's assistant principal.
"My schedule is definitely busier now, because there's always something needing to be done and always someone to talk to," Pounders said. "But every time you move up the ladder, it means more responsibility."
Pounders said he was able to learn much of the job's responsibilities by working with Britton.
"He did a good job here and showed me things I needed to do to become a good principal, and there's still a lot of little things left to learn," Pounders said.
There are several keys to being a good principal, according to Pounders, who earned a bachelor's degree and AA certification from the University of North Alabama and a master's degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
"The No. 1 thing for a principal is discipline for the students, because they need to know you're fair and where you stand with them. You need a good relationship with good communication with the community, and we have a great community here with good support for our school. You also need a good PTO program – ours does a great job raising funds – and a great faculty, and we have good teachers here."
Pounders said he always knew he wanted to be an educator.
"Ever since I was in junior high school, I've wanted to become a teacher and I was fortunate to also have some good players and enjoy a great career in coaching," Pounders said.
Pounders has been married to his wife Teresa for 34 years, and they have three children, Bradley, 30, Brian, 27, and Brittany, 25, who all graduated from Belgreen.
"I had the opportunity to go into administration earlier in my career, but I chose not to because I wanted to coach my kids while they were in high school. We had a great relationship – a lot of coaches don't want to coach their kids, but I enjoyed it," said Pounders, who said he likes to spend his free time with his family and attend University of Montevallo games, where his son Brian is an assistant coach for the men's basketball team.
Pounders has coached baseball, softball, track and basketball at Belgreen, but he is primarily known for coaching varsity boys basketball after leading the Bulldogs to several county championships and the state playoffs six times, including a state championship game appearance in 1994.
"One of the rewards of being a coach is watching players succeed whether it's in sports or in academics," Pounders said. "And it's a joy seeing them succeed in the workforce."
Every school wants to achieve 100 percent on the Alabama Department of Education's Annual Yearly Progress report, and Belgreen is no different.
"We always want to meet AYP and improve our test scores," Pounders said. "And we want to try and help each student be successful. I'd like to continue the success we're enjoying, and add more technology equipment while updating what we already have. We'll just have to change with the times."