Lutis Moore shaping future leaders at Jasper Jr. High

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 2/22/18

Jasper Jr. High Principal Lutis Moore Jr. says being a principal is about setting an example for our future leaders.

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Lutis Moore shaping future leaders at Jasper Jr. High


Jasper Jr. High Principal Lutis Moore Jr. says being a principal is about setting an example for our future leaders.

Moore left Maddox Intermediate School last year to start a new phase of life as principal of Jasper Jr. High. He said the hours are longer and there have been a few surprises along the way, but the reward in helping shape the character of young men and women is priceless.

Prior to entering his office for an interview earlier this month, Moore was observed talking to a boy who was leaving campus for the day, and he made sure the student had something productive to occupy his time away from school. When asked if he worries about the well-being of the school’s seventh- and eighth-graders when they leave for the day, he said, “All the time.”

“I didn’t think about it as much growing up when I was their age. I knew that my circumstances were different than some, but being in the trenches, per se, I see it,” Moore said. “Some kids have the support they need, and some kids don’t. It’s heartbreaking, but what we do a good job of here is trying to mend that gap to where we can provide support to kids who are struggling outside these walls.”

He continued, “I think kids at this age are just struggling with self identity. They’re not really sure which direction they want to go. They have an idea of what their parents want them to do or become, but that isn’t always the case with them personally. They may have other passions or desires and things that they want to fulfill. ... I think one thing we can do as a community is understanding and expecting that we all have a responsibility to make sure everybody is supported in some way, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Being a principal requires more responsibility than counseling or discipline, he said. Sometimes, Moore said he is sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, making home visits, placing phone calls to parents or completing any task that needs immediate attention.

“I wear a lot of hats just to make sure the overall goal is accomplished,” he said.

Moore admits he feels a great sense of responsibility to honor his culture and set an example for African-American youth. Moore is one of few African-American administrators in Walker County.

“I try to make good decisions, because being the only African-American principal here, a lot of eyes are on me. I’m responsible for not only the African-American kids, but every kid in this building,” he said. “I let my character do the talking, and I just try to tune out the stuff that’s negative. I don’t want to dwell on that, and I don’t want to let my work here be interfered by stuff like that from the outside.”

Each day Moore goes to work, he is reminded of the work ethic of his father, Lutis Sr. He said his mother, Carol, and grandparents, James and Katie Moore, are also inspirations for him to be a person of character in his leadership role.

“I feel like I have big shoes to fill with my dad and mom, my grandma and grandpa, and even my uncles,” he said. “I’m out here representing them, myself and my family. Everyday I come into work I try to do a good job, because it’s not just about me, it’s about them too.

“My dad worked 20 years before he took his first sick day, and I still think about that every single day,” he said. “That kind of stuff is what I think about, because I have family right now. I have two girls, Sydney and Savannah, and my wife, Tanisia. I’m the backbone of my family, and I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my family.”

Moore said he has great expectations for the future of Jasper Jr. High. He said nothing could be accomplished at the school without a team effort and remembering the overall goal of success.

“I hope with my direction and leadership that we can all see the overall goal and put our focus on that goal. When we achieve those goals, it lets me know I’m doing a good job,” he said. “I love the opportunity to lead, direct, mold and encourage. ... That’s part of my calling here, is to help the students grow individually.”