Blazing New Trails with New Principal for Bartram TRail High School - Meet Chris Phelps
by Jennifer Yarbrough
You may already know that Bartram Trail High School has a new bear at the helm, as former Assistant Chris Phelps was appointed Principal in April. But did you know that a few days after receiving the news he had knee replacement surgery? And now, a few months later, he is back cycling the 25-miles to work? That could pretty much sum up Mr. Phelps’ personality, work ethic and leadership.
As Assistant Principal at Bartram Trail since it’s opening in 2000, he has lead in a way that has inspired students and teachers to be their best and strive for excellence, no matter what. His advice for parents of high schooolers is to support their students, but then put them on that bike and let them go…let them pedal as fast or slow as they need to and let them steer themselves in the direction they will go, always staying a safe distance to pull them back on the trail when need be. To students, he quotes former Bartram student, Andrew Dill, who, when addressing Freshmen his Senior year told them that it is exciting being in High School and having more freedoms, but “increased freedom, means increased responsibility.”
And Mr. Phelps says to “grab it,” encouraging students to meet and know every adult on campus, a skill that will help them throughout life. He also speaks of the importance of learning communication and writing skills in class and outside of class, because these skills will lay the foundation for many aspects of their life after high school. A new, proactive program that Mr. Phelps and teachers are excited about is, “Link Crew,” which matches Freshmen with Upperclassmen in a leadership/mentorship setting. Upperclassmen receive training in leadership skills and Freshmen find mentors that can help them navigate the world of high school.
Many teachers, past and present, parents and students have expressed their enthusiasm for Mr. Phelps’ appointment, Carole Prior, who worked for five years when Phelps was AP says, “He has the HEART of a LION, the ZEAL of a CHAMPION and the LEADERSHIP SKILLS that the CAPTAIN of the STARSHIP must have!” Current teacher, Mrs. Jane Jens who has worked with him most of her career states, “I have complete confidence that he's the leader we need at BTHS. His calm competence, kindness, and steel backbone assure me that he'll do the right thing. Great choice for us!"
Having spent fourteen years at Nease High School and now fifteen years at Bartram Trail High School, Mr. Phelps is a great choice for the school and this area. He talks with pride of working with “the same folks, the same families,” over the years and of building relationships and trust with them, he feel like he wants to give back to the community that “has given him so much.”
Alright Bears, get on your cycles and start pedaling, you’ve got an amazing Principal leading the way!
8/4/2015 09:46:27 am
Fabulous article, Jennifer; Chris has always been the best of the best as far as leadership in education. I so enjoyed working with Chris and am delighted that thousands of students will continue to benefit from The Big Bear.
8/4/2015 11:21:00 pm
Thank you, Vicki, "Dean Reis!" It was an absolute honor to write about someone with such a positive attitude, integrity and a desire to help students and the community!!! :-)
8/4/2015 09:04:53 pm
Good to see a great guy getting the recognition he deserves. I remember him as coach and dean Phelps at Nease. Always a straight forward guy giving the students the tough love they needed to improve themselves and be successful. I was only sent to his office once and that was more than enough! My only question is can he still dunk a basketball?
8/5/2015 01:07:56 am
Good news but it sounds like a 5 year old wrote this. Dosent do the man justice
8/5/2015 10:14:06 am
He was a good cross country coach way back in the day ('91-93).
8/6/2015 02:23:05 am
Per the negative comment above, we all know being a coach requires a different mindset than being an Administrator. Coaches are meant to be hard on us so we succeed. Thankful for all my coaches (shout out Patty Adams!).
8/6/2015 07:39:30 am
Hi All - Thank you for the feedback. We really appreciate it! We would also appreciate if comments remain positive hopeful and helpful! We are your fun and friendly resource guide, after all. Thanks!!
Jessica hudson (Edwards)
8/6/2015 04:06:39 pm
Omg I can't believe he's still there at BTHS that's great ... I went there ...graduate of 2009... way to go yall... I miss my teacher mrs. Yarbrough. .. xxoo...
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