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Alan Cox, who served as principal at Marengo Elementary School for five years in the late 1990s, recently returned to the position. (Photo by Chris Adams)

Cox returns to MES

November 19, 2008
They say you can't return home. Alan Cox is proving them wrong.

Cox, who served as principal at Marengo Elementary School for five years in the late 1990s before returning to the classroom, has returned to the principal's office at MES.

"I describe myself as the new-old principal," he said.

The 46-year-old Cox, who was teaching physical education at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, said he applied for the MES job when it became vacant because he was looking for a new challenge.

"With the job I was doing, I enjoyed it, but after you start doing the same routine day after day, you begin to get a little stale," he said, adding he felt like he accomplished about all he could as a P.E. teacher.

The MES principal's position offers that change of pace, Cox said, explaining that while he may plan on doing something a certain day, things come up that make each day unique.

Cox left MES in 2000 mainly because he wanted to get back into coaching, having served as the high school baseball coach prior to becoming principal. His oldest daughter was getting into track and cross country, and starting a summer track series "got the coaching blood back into my system," he said.

While Cox wasn't necessarily looking to get back into a principal's position, he was looking for something new, he said, noting he had just earned certification in athletic administration.

One thing that led him to apply for the MES job was that he knew most of the staff at the school and he had a good relationship with them when he worked there a decade ago.

"That was the No. 1 reason," Cox said. "It's a hard-working staff and they care about the kids and each other."

Cox no longer coaches cross country, but does still coach junior varsity girls' basketball and is as an assistant coach for the varsity girls' team.

"Right now, I think I have a really great situation," with being an administrator and working with youth on the basketball floor, he said.

Cox said some things have changed both in administration overall and at MES since he left in 2000, including more paperwork and a lower student enrollment, but a lot is the same.

"Things I have forgotten over the years will come back to me from when I was here before," he said, noting he has found himself instinctively turning to the same draw to find a certain file, only to remember that things have been reorganized by previous administrators.

The most difficult part, Cox said, has been learning the students and their families and the various programs implemented in the past few years. The additional paperwork for both him and his teachers has also taken some time to get used to.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide the best opportunities for the kids in our building," Cox said, explaining that means his job, in part, is to provide the staff the opportunities to teach in the classroom by eliminating as many distractions, like the paperwork requirements, that he can.

"We're asking teachers to do all these different things" that take them away from the classroom, he said. "Let's let our teachers teach kids. That's what they're here for."

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