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Brian  Cain

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In 1989, Mr. Cain got his start in education when he became a teacher at Vestavia Hills High School where he taught math, psychology, and sociology. He was also the sponsor of the student government association.

In 2002 he became an assistant principal of Hoover High School. While there, he was in charge of the Advanced Placement program and several hundred 11th grade students.

In 2005, Mr. Cain was promoted to principal of Crossroads School. Crossroads is Hoover City Schools' alternative school. In 2007, Mr. Cain was chosen to be the new principal at Simmons.

In his own words, Mr. Cain has "...thoroughly loves being at Simmons. This is a wonderful place with a great staff, wonderful students and fantastic parents.

 The mission of Simmons Middle school is:

"We will be a school where students feel safe and unconditionally loved."To accomplish this, our primary objective is to establish, maintain and nourish positive relationships with all stakeholders at our school. We try to remember that a school is a group of people not a building. 

As the 2016-17 school year approaches, I realized that I am entering my 10th year at Simmons and my 28th year as an educator.

 I love coming to work here. It is a mission. I sprint to work each day, but I sprint home each evening to be with my family. My office number is 205-439-2110. Simmons is a great place to be. 

I love baseball, especially the oston Redsox, chocolate and reading. I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids. A great night at our house is just hanging out watching movies."



Simmons Principal Believes in Respect for Students

Honestly, I became a principal because, growing up, I became quite accustomed to the furniture in the principal’s office,” jokes Brian Cain, principal of Simmons Middle School. 

Beneath his laid-back, humorous exterior, however, is a man committed to more than just running a school. And while the adage “failure is not an option” may be worn out, when Cain applies it to the administration efforts at Simmons Middle School, its meaning is anything but clichéd. 

Cain, hired as the Simmons principal in late July, is committed to establishing an ongoing mutual respect between himself, the faculty and, most important, the students at the middle school.

 “Every time I talk to young people, I talk with them—not at them,” says Cain of his interactions with the students. “Always respect everyone, even if they don’t respect you. It works.” 

Cain also understands the difficulties of delegating responsibilities to the faculty at Simmons, a school with hundreds of students enrolled. Previously the principal for Hoover’s Alternative School and assistant principal for Hoover High, Cain explained the different approaches in addressing the needs of each student. 

“Some schools have a low number of students, each with relatively high needs,” said Cain “Others have more students, each requiring less one-on-one attention. The key is to ensure each student is given the proper help to succeed.”

Previously a middle school math teacher, Cain admits he still misses the classroom, and the more personal connection with a smaller group of students. 

“Occasionally I’ll walk into one of the math classrooms and let the teacher have a break, and I’ll teach for a while,” Cain said. “It surprises the students a little to see their principal finishing the lesson, but it gives the teacher a break, and it helps me remember the focus of my job—the students.” 

Each grade is split into three teams, allowing the teachers an open line of communication with each other regarding each student’s strengths and needs. This way, if a student is progressing well in one area but struggling in another, the administration can help that student get back on track. 

The “team system” also allocates minor discipline problems to the teachers. Cain still handles the major discipline problems, but, overall, he enjoys “working with a broader group of people.”

The education system in the 21st century is certainly a different atmosphere than that of the era of the “three Rs.” The advent of in-classroom technology helps teachers track the progress of each student. Caindescribed one in-class tool, a handheld device that into which students can type their answers to teachers’ questions. 

“This way, the teachers can discreetly determine which students may be struggling in class, sparing them the embarrassment of having to admit in front of the class that they don’t understand,” said Cain. 

The state requires the teachers to teach certain content, but the method, according to Cain, is flexible. 

With the rise in school violence over the past decade, Cain is acutely aware of the importance of the issue of in-school safety. 

“Think of it like real estate,” he said “If you’re selling a house in a bad neighborhood, the value will decrease. Anytime you don’t feel safe, nothing works.” 

Cain’s commitment to safety at Simmons is a top priority for the administration, providing each student with a safe learning environment. 

Cain’s approachability is sure to make him popular among students and staff, and his multi-faceted approach to teaching and the education system in general convey a sense of open-mindness, combined with commitment, which will strengthen educational and enrichment programs. 

-Over the Mountain Journal/October 2007