Teacher Feature: Interview with New Superintendent Mr. Paul Mullins
By Lydia Manley & Tristin Powell
Filmed and Edited by Seth Wright & Jack Mills
Lydia: What do you bring to Logan County?
Mullins: Well, I think I bring a lot of experience across the board to Logan County. I’ve been an elementary school principal, middle school principal, high school principal, superintendent and of course I began my career as a social studies teacher, and I’ve coached a lot of various sports: basketball, baseball, and football when I first got into education. So I’ve kind of been through the K through 12 part as well as now experiencing superintendent.
Lydia: Why did you decide to come back to Logan County?
Mullins: I think the key to that sentence is you said, “come back,” and we had such a wonderful experience when we were here in 2000-2004. This job was very attractive to us because of Logan County, Russellville; we just enjoyed our time here, it a period of the time in our life that we look back on fondly so when this job came open it was a—we thought it was a no brainer to at least stick your name in and to apply and hopefully get it.
Lydia: What are some of your hobbies?
Mullins: Well, I like to do Kentucky football and basketball, I like to watch Kentucky football and basketball, we go to most every UK football, basketball game;, we when to the final four twice, so I’m a big Kentucky fan. I also enjoy watching Dylan, which is one of my twins, he rides motocross and we’ve travel all over the country watching him ride: Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, he races everywhere, West Virginia; then Matthew plays basketball but he also likes bass fish, and Dylan does bass fish as well. I’m the captain of their boat when they fish, so like spending time with them. And then my oldest son Christian is a senior at Western and I enjoyed when he was in high school watching him play football, basketball, baseball and then at which he did play football at one point he for Georgetown College.
Lydia: Did you like high school when you were younger?
Mullins: Yes I did. I really loved high school; my experience in high school was one of the reasons that made me want to go in to education. I had a brother who was a little older than me, that was teaching while I was in high school, he encouraged me to go in to education. But my whole high school experience I enjoyed; I was really big in to supporting the teams, supporting the school. I had a lot of school sprite. To me your high school experience is one of those things that we hope everybody looks back at fondly because it is truly some of the best years of your life.
Tristin: Okay I’m going to ask you a few questions
Mullins: Oh is this when it gets a little tougher, is that what this is?
Tristin & Lydia: no, no. *Laughs*
Mullins: I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. *Laughs*
Tristin: What ideas do you have to improve the school system?
Mullins: Well, first off you’ve got to realize, and I take in to consideration that this is a very successful school district, and they have maintained a high level of success for a long period time, so you don’t just go in and make a wholesale change, or change for sake of making change. What you do is you go in and assess the situation, where we’re at, how I we best support our teachers as they teach, and support our administrators as they run or facilitate the buildings. From this chair, I think it’s important. When I left the classroom to become an administrator I said I wasn’t going to forget what it felt like to be a teacher, and when I left the principal-ship to go in to the superintendent, I said I will not forget what it’s like to be a teacher or being an administrator. So what changes? I think what you do is that you have to assess where you are, you always want to be efficient, you want to make sure you’re providing the best opportunities for students to have whether in high school or elementary (for that matter) where you’re opening doors. I think that’s important. How many doors can I open for you all to graduate, whether it be college or career or technical education, maybe the armed services? Whatever you guys choose we need to open as many doors as we can. I’m not going to say there’s going to be changes, but let’s make sure we are serving our students.
Tristin: What is the hardest part of your job, and what is the best part of your job?
Mullins: The best part of my job is when I get to go out to the buildings, and I get to see students. I got into it because I enjoy being around students. I’m a people person. I like to laugh and cut-up all the time, even though there’s a serious side to me as well. So I enjoy being out in the buildings and seeing the teachers and the students and the administrators. I also like going to ball games and activities where people can see me in a different light. Maybe I’m in a polo or a pair of jeans or something where I look a little different and people can see me like that, leaning up against a fence watching a football game or a basketball game sitting in the bleachers. The toughest part of the job is just trying to make sure that we are being good stewards with the money that the tax payers of Logan County give us. That’s important because how we allocate our funds drives how we are able to deliver instruction in the classroom. When you say those things are hard, it’s just because there’s a fine amount of money. That’s a challenge.
Tristin: If you are, what show are you watching on Netflix?
Mullins: *Laughs* What show am I watching on Netflix? Well if I watch a series, ill pull up the old stuff like maybe M.A.S.H., or Cheers, or Seinfeld. That’s my cup of tea. I’m not a Walking Dead person. *Laughs*
Tristin: You sure you’re not a Greys Anatomy person? *Laughs*
Mullins: Now I do like Greys Anatomy!
Tristin: Any innovative ideas for the future that can improve our school system?
Mullins: I do think there is a lot of possibility when we open up the ATC center, tying career and technical education into workforce opportunities as students graduate. In Leroux County, where I was a high school principal for eight years, we did a one-to-one initiative with laptops. That is something that we would look at as a possibility at some point. With you guys its technology. You know, making sure that we’re making our classrooms to be at the same speed that you guys are going as high school students. You all are at the front edge of it. I experience it; I’ve got my laptop and my smartphone and my tablet but by the same token I’m just in a different place compared to you all on that. I think for us the challenge of being innovative in a classroom is how we engage learners, where you guys are on task in a way that you are in tune with what’s going on and technology is a good way to do it. It’s not the only way, but it’s a way to do it.
Lydia: One more, when you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mullins: I wanted to be a soldier, because my dad was a soldier. We all have our heroes, and my dad was my hero. My dad was a part of the greatest generation, he fought in World War Two in the south pacific and then he fought in the Korean War. Since he was my hero I guess being a part of the military is something I would have wanted to have done.
Tristin: That’s awesome.
Lydia: Well that’s all we have. Thank you very much.
Mullins: Thank you, I don’t know if I did very good or not.
Lydia: No, you did. Thank you.
Mullins: So I saw somebody likes M.A.S.H., who likes M.A.S.H.? I love M.A.S.H. *Laughs*