It’s all about relationships.
That’s what new Williston High School Principal Eulin Gibbs told Williston Rotary members about success when he made his guest speaking debut before the club Tuesday.
Gibbs, in his first year at WHS, has more than 36 years in education spanning six or seven school systems.
Along the way he has taught everything from physical science to math and even had a couple years in construction.
It wasn’t long though before he found his way back to his first love, all the while clinging to two Bible verses–the two he claimed as his-Proverbs 3:5-6 and Romans 8:28.
The first verse, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths has been the guiding force in his life for many years, he said.
And when he wasn’t sure about which path to take in life, he leaned on that scripture.
Gibbs spent the majority of his career in Hart County (Ga.) where he was first at the middle school and then later the high school.
When he became principal at Hart County High School, only 63 percent of its students graduated. It was the other 37 percent that concerned him.
Over the next four years, he developed relationships with parents, students, teachers and the community.
He talked one-on-one with students who were at risk for dropping out. He related his own story in order to help them assess theirs.
“It’s all about building relationships,” he said.
And he was correct. When he retired, 85 percent of Hart County High School’s students were graduating.
Only 50 percent of minority students, often at-risk for drop out, were graduating when he arrived. Four years later that number increased to 79 percent.
Gibbs believe in leadership doused with dignity and respect.
“If you are firm, fair and consistent,” he said, “you will earn the respect.”
Gibbs said he undertsand that in 2010 Williston High School was an “F” school and by 2011 had climbed to a “B+”.
His goal is for the school to become an “A” school and stay there.
As the school’s instructional leader, he plans to create a culture of expectation among the faculty, staff, students and community.
“I want to push them (students) in the direction they need to go in order to acheive success,” Gibb said.
He envisions first rate athletic programs, outstanding extracurricular activities and academic successes that are second to none.
The community has to realize it’s a large stakeholder in the vision, he said and with him support the school in its endeavors.
Gibbs and his wife, Sue, a teacher who still resides in Georgia until the end of the school term, have three grown sons.
In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, biking and jogging.