Nathan Lovelette has plans for the two years he has his students.
For more than 15 years Nathan Lovelette has roamed the halls of Flagler County schools. This year will be no different, except, this year he roams as principal of Buddy Taylor Middle school.
Lovelette prefers the halls to his office.
“I like to be out with the kids and staff and be a part of it,” he said. “If I see a lab experiment in a science lab I am just as likely to join in.”
He is familiar with the BTMS halls, he was assistant principal for seven years before transferring to a position at Everest Alternative (formerly Pathways). Budget cuts closed Everest Alternative and he became the assistant principal at Flagler Palm Coast High School. In July he was offered the principal position at BTMS.
He's not the only member of his family who will be starting the new school year at the middle school on Belle Terre Parkway, his daughter Monica is a member of the seventh grade class.
School identity and school pride are important to Lovelette. He sees the two years between elementary and high school as an opportunity to help the students understand what they are working toward.
“Sometimes it's hard for them to see the big picture,” Lovelette said. “Two years go by quickly. Elementary and high schools have more time to build school pride. I want to keep the ball rolling from elementary school, establish our own identification, and feed it into high school. I want to be that bridge.”
A dance for seventh grade students before school began illustrated his goal. Pictures were taken of the students and the principal and labeled “class of 2021.”
Lovelette knows there will be those times when disciplinary action will be necessary and he has experience in this aspect of his job.
“Getting called to the principal's office doesn't have to be the end of the world,” he said. “I believe we get more out of them with trust and respect and I want them to walk out thinking we can work it out.”
The shelves of his credenza and the walls of his office are decorated with framed inspirational quotes from many notable people, including musicians Bob Marley and John Lennon. The Lennon quote, is from his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
“These spark conversations with kids and adults,” Lovelette said.
Lovelette said 1,018 students were registered as of their open house on Friday, Aug. 21. When the open house was over Lovelette asked the teachers and staff to gather around the team mascot, the eagle, for a group photo. By that afternoon the photo of the staff in their red and white BTMS shirts was already a screen saver on his office computer.