By Maya Pottiger
On his first day as principal of George Fox Middle School, there was an earthquake.
Now, Russell Austin is ending his tenure on much steadier terms. After eight years, Austin will leave George Fox on January 31.
“I have enjoyed getting to know the many families at George Fox Middle School,” Austin said, “getting to know everything about them and giving them someone they can talk to about issues that come up dealing with their child’s education, and social and emotional needs.”
While at George Fox, Austin said he was most proud of the staff he assembled.
“I’m most proud of bringing in young, hungry, eager teachers who are looking for their first job, and then giving them opportunities to display leadership and take on projects that truly make a difference in this school,” Austin said.
Effective immediately, Austin will take on a new role as one of three assistant principals of North Caroline High School in Ridgely, Maryland. He expects to start on February 1.
For Austin, the opportunity arose at the perfect time.
“My wife and I are at a point where we’re looking to plan the next chapter in our lives. She currently works in Delaware, which is kind of difficult because she’s not home with me all the time,” Austin said. “When the opportunity from Caroline County Public Schools came up, it was kind of tough to pass up knowing that I wanted to eventually make my way out that way for retirement.”
This move transitions Austin to assistant principal, which is a role he held previously at Corcoran, Annapolis and Southern middle schools. However, this will be Austin’s first role in a high school.
“What will be different about a high school will be the maturity levels of the children,” Austin said. “When I make my way over to Northeast High School for various events we host over there, the children strike me as being similar with the exception of they have different stories to tell. Once I get to know the students over at North Caroline High School, I think I will fit in quite well.”
Austin will be joining North Caroline in the middle of the school year. In order to acclimate himself, Austin said he plans to spend a lot of time out of his office and around the building.
“My way of getting to know a building has always been simply to stay out of my office, interact with everyone that I see, get a feel for the typical day-to-day, and always ask how I can help, how I can do something to make things easier,” Austin said.
Austin first decided he wanted to be a teacher during his eight years in the Air Force. He started teaching Russian linguistics and knew that teaching was his calling. His first job in education was teaching middle school social studies at Old Mill Middle North, and his favorite subject to teach was eighth-grade U.S. History.
“Once you get to know this community, it’s really great to be a part of because you are trusted, you are treated like a family member. They always look to you for advice, they always look to you for information,” Austin said. “As long as you treat their children fairly, you essentially have a friend for life.”