The cafeteria of Tyrone Elementary School was as quiet as a mouse May 16, even though the entire school and staff had returned after lunch to fill the large room. But that silence broke into wild applause when Principal Eddie Pollard entered. The occasion was a surprise announcement and celebration honoring the longtime administrator who has been named Georgia’s 2011 National Distinguished Principal.
The whole impromptu assembly that afternoon was an interestingly orchestrated affair and had been kept secret for the past week because the school and the school system wanted the honor to be a surprise. The plan involved having Pollard travel to Fayetteville to meet with Superintendent Jeff Bearden only to find that their wires had been crossed, necessitating Pollard’s return to Tyrone to find the cheers of a room full of excited students and staff. It was easy to see that the pretext worked.
Pollard was called to the stage where Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals Executive Director Hal Beaver asked that the curtains be opened, revealing a number of Pollard’s family members who had come for the announcement.
Beaver’s brief remarks let the students know that their principal was the only one of Georgia’s 1,600 elementary school principals to receive the national recognition and that he would represent Georgia later this year in the running for the nationwide honor.
“He was nominated and selected by his fellow principals through a statewide search process,” Beaver said.
That is about all it took for the cafeteria to erupt into applause once again, with the students and staff joined in their animated excitement by a host of other principals, school system administrators and board of education members who had come for the announcement.
Pollard during his remarks praised the outstanding staff at Tyrone Elementary and those within the Fayette County School System. He used the occasion to note something he had learned during nearly 26 years as an administrator and 11 years as a teacher.
“When you serve people you never know the outcome, but you keep serving,” Pollard said.
Pollard is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and the State University of West Georgia. He previously held the position as principal at North Fayette Elementary School, Flat Rock Middle School and at Braelinn Elementary School.
Pollard is the second Fayette principal to ever receive the honor. The first was retired Cleveland Elementary School Principal Jeanie Miller in 2008.