Oakman alum Chris Walton named middle school principal

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 7/16/17

Daily Mountain Eagle

OAKMAN — Chris Walton is happy to be home.

Walton was recently named the new principal of Oakman Middle School, and he said a lot has changed at his alma matter.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, Walton …

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Oakman alum Chris Walton named middle school principal

Posted

Daily Mountain Eagle

OAKMAN — Chris Walton is happy to be home.

Walton was recently named the new principal of Oakman Middle School, and he said a lot has changed at his alma matter.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, Walton landed his first teaching job at Oakman High School in 1996, where he stayed as a teacher and coach until 2003.

He then had his first administrative role as assistant principal of Curry Middle School, before becoming principal at Parrish Elementary School in 2011.

Walton said leaving Parrish after six years was not a decision he took lightly, but he is happy to be serving the school community of Oakman again, over a decade later.

“I’ve been gone 14 years, and coming back, it’s been great,” Walton said in his new office at Oakman Middle, after a day of outdoor labor at the school on Thursday. “What’s been odd is when I pull up I don’t see the old buildings that I was used to because it’s a new high school, a new middle school. ... It’s a lot different than it was when I was here before. You can see the school growing, you can see the community growing around the school and it just takes your breath away.”

He added, “Parrish is a great school, great kids, great faculty and a great community. I loved it. It was a hard decision [to leave], but I prayed about it, and I knew I was being moved for another reason. Sometimes you get moved because the Lord needs you somewhere else.”

Walton said he has been working with Oakman High School Principal Patrick Gann to identify ways the two schools can work together and become a part of each other’s traditions. Some initial plans for unity, Walton said, would be for the middle school to be involved in the high school’s homecoming festivities, and to extend beginner band to sixth grade students.

“He and I have been friends for a long time, and we’ve always had a good working relationship,” Walton said of he and Gann. “We’re already putting our heads together, trying to build some bridges and move forward with some joint efforts between the two schools. There’s going to be many positives coming out of both schools where we can mesh things together.”

Walton said he also wants to instill the positivity displayed by Oakman Middle’s assistant principal, Nancy Shepherd.

“She’s a very good person, and I’m looking forward to working with her. She puts off a very good, positive energy and vibe, and that’s what we want to build on,” he said.

He said students returning to school in the fall will be able to look forward to improvements to the school’s gym and a new, digital sign that will allow the school to share important information with parents.

Walton is married to Suzie Walton, a teacher at Cordova High School. They have two children, Morgan, 24, and Brett, 19. He said he enjoys spending time with his family and outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing.

He said he credits his growth as an administrator to the principals he’s learned from in the past, and he hopes parents and students know that his door is always open.

“I started out my career here, so I’ll hopefully end my career here,” he said. “I’m back home.”