Crowning Connections: In the Principal’s Office

ROB CLEMONS
Welcome to Crowning Connections. This is Rob Clemons and I am in the principal’s office at Myrtle Beach High School. It’s a little bit overwhelming, but I’ll see if I can get through it today. Last time I was doing this, it was because I probably did something bad at school years ago! But anyway, actually I’m with Kristin Altman, she is the principal of Myrtle Beach High School. Welcome to the show, Kristin.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Thank you.

ROB CLEMONS
All right. Well, we’re glad to have you here today because a big point of this show is we like to talk about leadership. We like to talk about people who have been successes and how they got here. So nothing better than to talk to a principal of a high school here. And we’re going to talk a little bit about those things. I have a couple of things I got unfairly punished for back in school, I’d like to see your thoughts on those and we’ll go from there. But well, welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, so I am Kristin Altman. I was born and raised here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This has always been home.

ROB CLEMONS
Wow. So you’re a local! I mean, this is.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yes, a true local.

ROB CLEMONS
A true local. Yeah. Any more if you’ve been here for ten years, you’re a local, but you are true local.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yes. Born and raised in Grand Strand hospital. So I went to school at Socastee High. I was part of the first graduating class of their international baccalaureate program.

ROB CLEMONS
Wow.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And I guess kind of talking about how I ended up where I did. It’s a pretty classic story for an administrator. But, you know, as a young kid and elementary school teachers were some of the first people that, you know, you really get her as a role model that you love and respect. And we find that a lot with our elementary age children. So I was very inspired by my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Wood.

ROB CLEMONS
And shout out to Ms. Wood.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So she was amazing. And I found that in all of my teachers, early on, they’re so caring and loving and so it really inspired me to be that for children down the road. And at that age I would, you know, go into the classroom. At the end of the day, I would take recycling papers out of the bin and go home. I’d pass them out to my teddy bears, lined up my room, and I would write on my mirrored closet doors with markers because it would wipe off with Windex. So I would teach my teddy bears and take up their papers. And so that was kind of a daily routine for me. I just always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. And then when I went to high school and I was in the IB program, I had a lot of really great teachers. In fact, one of my current teachers here at Myrtle Beach High, Mr. Gaddy, was my ninth grade governance econ teacher in the IB program. Yeah, that is cool. Full Circle Story.

ROB CLEMONS
So that’s wow. Cool. Is he is he doing the same teaching style now that he did back then or has he evolved to another?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yes, he’s an incredible teacher. He’s in our history department here at Myrtle Beach High. He teaches us history and does a phenomenal job. He’s our department chair here and just does a really, really great job relating to kids. So that’s carried through all these years. But he was a great role model for me as a student. And then I had another teacher, Mr. Chandler, who was incredibly inspiring as well. And so he was in the history department too. And to the two of them really are kind of responsible for the direction that I went with my teaching. So I went on once I graduated from faculty, I went to USC: go gamecocks. And majored in history there with every intention of being a teacher. That was all I had ever wanted and known.

ROB CLEMONS
In quick commercial break on this. So you’re telling me that from the age of five, you were already starting to get the inclination you wanted to be a teacher?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, absolutely.

ROB CLEMONS
You know, you know, and I’m going to say this because I think this is relevant for the people today. There are a lot of kids who are in their second, third year of college who don’t know what they want to do with their life. Yet here you are, five years old. You like this is my thing, right?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah. You know, for a lot of educators, that’s not so unusual. I think that it’s just really innate for a lot of teachers.

ROB CLEMONS
I hear you.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And then on the flip side, though, you know, if you are in college right now and you’re not sure what you want to do, it’s never too late. You know, we have teachers that are in their forties and fifties that are going back to school now to to join the field of education, because they’re so inspired by the impact that you make in kids lives. So, you know, I don’t think there’s one right path or one right way to get here, but it’s such an important path. And for our kids

ROB CLEMONS
Yeah, no doubt about it. So keep going. Sorry, I just said about that as school. Okay, so you’re back at University of South Carolina.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah. So I majored in history at USC to teach at the high school level. Right now, you major in your subject area that you’re going to teach and then you get your master’s degree in education. So I graduated from USC with a bachelor’s in history and then went into the In 80 program, which is the master’s in the Art of Teaching at Coastal Carolina University.

ROB CLEMONS
So we’re talking see you graduate shows. Okay. Yeah.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So I actually graduated early from USC, which which was fortunate that was part of that IB program and the curriculum there. I earned college credits going in, so I was able to graduate early from USC and at that point had met my future husband who was back at the beach and I really missed home. So I was only away from Myrtle Beach for three years before I decided it was time to get back to my family and my roots.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
It’s funny, only two and a half hours away. As much as I love being a Gamecock, there’s definitely a different feeling in the city of Columbia versus the feeling of the city of Myrtle Beach.

ROB CLEMONS
Really? Like what’s the biggest difference in your opinion?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
I think it’s the the coastal vibe, you know, just yeah, it’s a presence here, that friendliness, it’s a little bit slower paced and it just was home.

ROB CLEMONS
A lot more flip flops here.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Straight through the winter even.

ROB CLEMONS
This is one of the places where even your real estate agents, they’ll come in wearing shorts and flip flops and you’re like, okay, that works. Yeah, I get you. All right.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So came back home. I did my master’s in The Art of Teaching through Coastal Carolina and then was hired actually out of my internship from that program at Georgetown High School in Georgetown County. So I spent my first five years teaching at Georgetown High. I was the varsity cheerleading coach, the student council sponsor. We started a sister schools program with the high school and or his Denmark and actually traveled overseas with our students, which was a really, really incredible experience to be able to provide to our kids.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So in the midst of all that, I had a really good colleague, friend who taught next door to me. We had done the program together and he wanted to be a principal. That was always his goal. He knew from early on he wanted to be an administrator.

ROB CLEMONS
So you also have kids who are like, I want to be a principal one day. Right. All right. So that was not me. Okay. I got to.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Know. So I never envisioned going into administration at all. It was always about being a teacher, but we were great friends and at that point in my life, you know, we didn’t have any children. I had the time to pursue furthering my education and I always enjoyed school. So I agreed to go through the program with my friend and as soon as I started the classes, it was really eye opening to the impact that you make at the administrative level, on the school building through the, you know, the hiring process, the culture building in the school.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so it opened my eyes to there was a greater impact to be made, so to speak. So then I fell in love with administration and I knew that was the path that I wanted to go. It was never about disliking teaching. I’m still super passionate about that.

ROB CLEMONS
Yeah, I was going to say, Do you ever like and this thing to sound like a silly question but who better to ask than the principal? Do you ever like just go in and just teach classes? Yeah. You’re, you know, still in you.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, well, I haven’t done that, but I will go in and visit, you know, like going into Mr. Gowdy’s classrooms and toss out questions and want to pop quiz you and those types of things. But I definitely think, you know, if you can work it in and the students can see you in that capacity, it’s neat to kind of share that with them to make sense.

ROB CLEMONS
Okay.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So yeah, something to consider down the road.

ROB CLEMONS
Yeah, yeah. Well, I was just thinking, you know, you’re kind of like, hey, teach, take, take the day off. I’m gonna come to this class.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that would be a really neat thing to be able to do. And I think our teachers would certainly appreciate that as well.

ROB CLEMONS
I think maybe we could call this the Rob Clemmons theorem and we could just make a whole thing out of it.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
You’re on the.

ROB CLEMONS
Right. Oh, well, that’s very cool. So. So as you’ve gone through this, there’s been a lot of inspirations along your life. I mean, you go back to the kindergarten teacher. Do you do you look at your style as a teacher? Do you look at your style and say you emulated one of them at all or is yours just totally different?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah. No, I mean, I definitely think so. Teachers are constantly challenged by the changes of society. And, you know, there’s a lot of pressure on our educators because of accountability, which we know is important. Right. Because we have to be able to understand where our students are and what their progress and growth looks like. But inherently, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that on our teachers and so sometimes I think that that pressure limits the creativity that sometimes our staff feels like they can express, but ultimately, yes, definitely.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
You know, the best instruction is that which is engaging and is able to capture students interest and make the learning relevant to their lives. So my goal as a teacher was always to develop a really strong relationship with the kids. And and, you know, a lot of that was done through working with student council and coaching cheerleading because any time as an educator that you can be involved in their life outside of the classroom setting, it inherently lets you build a better rapport with the kids. And so then you can take that back into the classroom and the level of respect is a little bit different. But in terms of the actual instruction and teaching going on, I, you know, aside from having amazing teachers in the field, I also just was super passionate about history and the subject matter and not always makes it easier, right?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yes, I do. About the work that you’re doing. So it was kind of like two great loves coming together and in the classroom. I hope that answers a not.

ROB CLEMONS
It’s a great answer. And you know, one of the things is that I look back on myself. If I look back at high school. Rob And look at grown up. Rob Right. You know, U.S. history, world history. I’m like, Oh my God, I got to pass another test on that nowadays. I read it for fun, right? So for the kids who might be listening, just know that one day you might be looking back, you know, you know, ten years ago when you were in high school like me look at off camera because my marketing director picks on me all the time.

ROB CLEMONS
But but no, when you when you get older, you might actually enjoy some of the stuff. So start early. It’s fun, right? Yeah.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And I know we were talking I guess I’m backtracking a little bit about experiences that inspired me. But we also in middle school took a trip to Washington, D.C. and I would say that was really pivotal, pivotal in my experience to one of the things that stands out the most from that trip was that we visited the Holocaust Museum.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Wow.

ROB CLEMONS
Yeah.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And it was such a somber and sobering experience that from that moment in sixth grade, I became extremely interested in studying you know, the Holocaust, which then led to interest in genocide. And if I hadn’t gone down the route of moving into administration in college, that was when the genocide in Rwanda and Darfur was was going really strong.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so at one point, I thought that I would pursue a doctorate in history, and that would be my subject matter of research. So it’s kind of interesting how it all comes into play.

ROB CLEMONS
Oh, God, works out like it should be. So as far as your your moments of growth, you talk about, one, this trip to Washington. Has there been a challenge over the last couple of years with COVID and maybe the lack of an ability to do that kind of stuff? Are you guys still able to get out? Tell me about that a little bit.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the obvious answer is yes. We definitely have had limitations in the school building. Just, you know, inherently we are the microcosm of our greater community. And so everything that you’re seeing and feeling outside of the school building has a way of trickling in and having effect, but I will say that our school system has worked really hard to ensure that our students still have all the access that they need to education.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And we’ve had to be really creative. You know, some of those trips have then turned into like virtual trips. And technology is a wonderful thing because it provides that access to our kids. So, you know, maybe you couldn’t actually take the physical trip to Washington, D.C., but you can jump on the Internet and do a virtual tour of the museum.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So not exactly the same experience, but still able to provide, you know, some window into that opportunity.

ROB CLEMONS
You know, I think that in this way, I love what you just said because that’s probably about as well pointed as you get to me to any point on the show or the the high school system, maybe the school system in general is doing with a lot of work, you know, like regular places of business are dealing with, you know, how do you handle situations with things like COVID being prepared, adapting to the times?

ROB CLEMONS
Right. So let’s go down that route. You talked about teachers. What’s the longest tenured teacher at this high school?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Dina Oh, my goodness. We have staff members that have been here for 20 to 25 years.

ROB CLEMONS
25 years. Okay, that’s great. So they’re spanning a couple of generations at least, right? How are teachers evolving their teaching style to deal with the younger generations? Because obviously you talk about Gen Z is a lot mainly what you’re teaching right now in the high school level. Have there been evolutions in the way that we try to get through to that younger group as opposed to what you might have done, you know, 15 years ago?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, pre-COVID, of course, our students are changing and largely because of technology. And that just naturally is what it is, you know, the access to it. Every kid almost has a cell phone and they have access to these apps and information at their fingertips. And not only do they have that, but that’s what’s interesting and appealing to them.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So prior to COVID, our teachers were having to learn to implement different types of technological tools and websites and things that would capture the students interest in a different way. But COVID was the obvious push. You know, if if we were reluctant prior to that, this is now our means of providing, you know, really their access to education.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Because when the pandemic first took off, you know, we walked out of the building thinking we were coming back in a week and we left for three months. And so we were super grateful that we had the tools. You know, in Orange County schools in particular, we’ve been 1 to 1 with devices for quite some time. So all of our students have a device assigned to them, a laptop or, you know, an iPad at the younger levels.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so they went home with that. And so we had a means right away with with a lot of thinking going on to how to make that structure work. But we were so blessed to be able to do that. And so our teachers could carry on, you know, our students could log in to Google Classroom, they could do Google meets with their teachers and still get direct instruction.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so it, you know, unfortunately, kind of forced us into using it in a way that maybe isn’t the best. But it was really fortunate that we had the opportunity to do so well.

ROB CLEMONS
I mean, it’s so interesting because in a weird way, what happened here is you got into a situation where the young generation, they’re using Venmo, when they’re using, you know, like just apps for everything. Right? And then we almost got forced, almost accelerated by it, by force into getting down with technology in general in the way that you teach, in the way you’re going to do things.

ROB CLEMONS
So did you find it when it came to coming back to school? Was there much pushback on that front from just a general level? I mean, you know, as far as people say, well, I don’t feel comfortable coming back to the classroom now.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah. So honestly, I think any reluctance that we had was just purely from a safety perspective. You know, everyone was really uneasy. We all had so many questions about what this pandemic was going to look like, what were the true implications, how could we keep campus as safe as possible? But again, our health services team did a lot of a lot of hard work at the district office in conjunction with Do You hacking ensuring that we had protocol in place that would maintain the health and safety of our campus and students.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So that aspect aside, our kids were so excited to go back to school, you know, like just like us. They left that day thinking, okay, we don’t know what’s going on. Maybe we’re going to be out for a week or maybe two, but having no idea that they would end their year, I mean, we had seniors in high school that that’s how they ended their year.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
That’s how they ended their high school experience. So our kids, for the most part, were thrilled to come back to school. And I think our teachers were too. You know, we didn’t become educators because we are recluses that want to sit in isolation. And we, most of us, thrive off of that socialization and working with our students. So they were so happy to have life back into the building because the kids are the life of this campus.

ROB CLEMONS
Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. So when they come back into the school system and they get back into day to day in-person classes, you told me something before the show that I thought was pretty interesting. You talked about this about socialization, right? Part of school is about that social aspect, developing your character and who you’re going to be and how you’re going to communicate.

ROB CLEMONS
And you do get a lot of that. So there is that first day of coming back and the cafeteria is full. Tell me a little bit about that.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, well, I mean, it was definitely an interesting transition for everybody. And initially, when students return to campus, you know, we were operating on a hybrid model, so we only had 50% of our kids here every other day type of situation. And initially our students were still eating in the classroom. So it was a really slow kind of roll back into a regular learning environment.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And finally, when when things had started to see a real reduction in the numbers here locally, we were able to transition back to having, you know, returning to campus first thing in the morning, going straight to the cafeteria and being able to socialize with your friends. And then also at lunch, going back to the routine of eating your actual meal in the cafeteria.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so we were so thrilled as a leadership team and our teachers, I know for sure as well, to be able to say, you know, hey, we’re going to make this movement and we’re going back to a more traditional style. And our kids were very excited, too, but they were also really, really nervous.

ROB CLEMONS
And I can imagine.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, I mean, we had if you think about it, in the last four years, we’ve not had a normal or standard type of year for our students. Prior to the pandemic, we had Hurricane Florence, which resulted in three weeks out of school for our students. Earlier on in the school year because we had some really tragic flooding in the community.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so, you know, there was three weeks out there and then the following year we had three months out when the pandemic started. And then since then, the next two years had not been traditional at all in terms of model. And so we have kids coming in their senior year who’ve never had lunch in the cafeteria. They haven’t had that chance to just mingle with with their classmates or, you know, some of them even get to really know their classmates in that capacity.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So it was a big transition, trying to make sure they warmed up to that environment. And, you know, we really, as a teachers and the leadership team tried to encourage them to talk to each other. We kind of, I think, as a society have become so dependent on our cell phones. And it’s kind of the comfort zone. You know, even as adults have you, you know, you look around in a restaurant and people are eating meals together, but they’re both on their phones or you walk down the sidewalk and instead of saying hello to the person crossing your path, it’s more comfortable to look at your phone. So we’re in an unusual place, I think, as a whole in our society. But it definitely is so important that our kids are learning that socialization and how to just have an in-person conversation and look somebody in the eye. And, you know, I think we said earlier, shake a hand. So we we’ve seen a big improvement in the comfort level of our kids over the last couple of months, but it definitely was a big transition.

ROB CLEMONS
Well, it’s cool that you mentioned there, and I appreciate the concept here because we were talking a little bit beforehand about, you know, I’ve talked to some other faculty for some other schools and they said this is a challenge. Right? It’s the soft skills as much as it is about learning history and math and all this. But it’s actually the ability to maybe write a good resume or to shake the hand, to look them in the eye. So from the teachers perspective, that’s obviously going to be a challenge now and it’s going to sound like I’m making a joke here, but kind of seriously. So back here, back in my day, as I to said, if if the teacher was really upset with, you know, what they could do? They could pull out a paddle and literally paddle. You know, this is the truth. Oh, so now as we get to this era, how do you do without the absence of physical force? How do you teach kids that they did wrong? What was the methods now?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Oh, my goodness. What a loaded question. I know.

ROB CLEMONS
I just want to know. I’m curious, you know?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, I mean, we definitely want to partner. I think that’s why the relationship with our parents and our community is so important, because a lot of that, the basic fundamentals start in the home. But on the flip side, kids are spending more time in the school building and in the campus and with our teachers often than they are, you know, with their own parents.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And I can say the same for my children because we spend 8 hours a day at school. So there is a huge responsibility on the schools end of things to make sure that students are held accountable and that they understand expectation. And and that just like you said, yes, we’re preparing them academically and they’re earning this diploma. But is that all you know, we really our goal is to.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yes, do that, but then to make sure that holistically they’re developed and that when they leave our campus, they’re prepared, whether it’s the military or they’re going directly into their career or on to college, whatever their path is, that they can do that successfully and be a responsible, mature human being. Right. That contributes to society. So I kind of went around what you asked, but in the classroom setting, I mean, I think that has a lot to do with accountability and having procedures that are really clear and expectations that are very clear to students about behavior and engagement in the classroom and then holding our our kids accountable to that, you know, so often when you hear discipline, it has kind of a punitive feel to it and it’s not really meant to be that way. It’s it’s more about management and structure. And if those things are in place and our content in the classroom is engaging and we have that rapport and relationship with our kids, hopefully we never get to a point where, you know, there is discipline with with a negative connotation.

ROB CLEMONS
Yeah, exactly.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So I hope that sort of answer is great.

ROB CLEMONS
So what I’m hearing is less or less physical punishment is better.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
That would be no. Because no, I’m going to be very clear. No punishment.

ROB CLEMONS
Absolutely. Well, okay. So let’s change gears a little. I mean, looking at your desk a little bit. Very tidy desk, by the way. Thank you. Very nice. Nice work. What is this blue thing over here? I, i looked at this little jar, and I’m just curious. It looks like something out of science fair project.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah. So actually, some of our psychology students created these for some of the admin team, and our school counselors. It’s a sensory jar really just meant to, you know, if a student comes in and they’re feeling overwhelmed or kind of stressed out or maybe I’m feeling stressed out, I flip it over and just kind of take a minute to focus.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
It gives you a focal point to kind of readdress whatever tensions you might have or change your train of thought.

ROB CLEMONS
So talent is more students instead of well, well done. What do kids still bring like if they’re trying to curry a teacher’s favor? I’m trying to help students who might be lost. What do they do? Is it still they bring in maybe an apple or something or. What was the trick? Yeah. How do you get on your teacher’s good side?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Oh, my gosh. The best way to get on a teacher’s good side is just to do what you’re supposed to do in the classroom. Okay.

ROB CLEMONS
Answer your questions.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And yeah, I mean, like I said, our teachers are in this field because they’re passionate about kids and they’re passionate about their content. So the most rewarding thing, I think, for an educator is to feel that positive response and reaction and communicating with the kids in their class, but to also see them really get engaged in whatever it is that you’re teaching, to feel like you’ve had that moment of success, whether it is with, you know, the English lesson, the essay that they’re writing, or maybe it’s that kind of aha moment where you have a kid who’s been dealing with some challenging things outside of school and maybe has had some disruptive behaviors, but you

KRISTIN ALTMAN
have that heart to heart and it clicks and now they’re they’re willing to work with you. So I think, you know, that’s the best reward.

ROB CLEMONS
How important were extra curricular for you when you were growing up and developing? You mentioned that you were a varsity cheerleading coach, I believe. How important was that in your personal development as you’re going through school?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, I mean, it was essential, I think, and that was all I ever knew. I mean, growing up, my my parents had the perspective, you know, the busier you are that you’re going to stay out of trouble. And you’re also learning a lot of really important skills, you know, from socialization at a young age. I took dance for nine years and then transitioned over to cheerleading in middle school and did competitions here and took gymnastics for the tumbling aspect to make sure that I had that for cheerleading.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So and then of course, on top of that, I was in student council myself, so held leadership roles there and just was really involved in different clubs and honor societies and school. So it seems obvious, I guess in retrospect the impact that had because then as a teacher, what did I end up doing? I ended up being the student council supervisor and coaching, cheerleading.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So, you know, it’s pretty obvious, I think, the impact, but I think the lesser obvious impact maybe is just the crucial skills in socialization and how you deal with conflict. And a lot of the personal development that comes from being involved in either athletics or maybe it’s, you know, being in the chorus or any type of extracurricular activity.

ROB CLEMONS
I think that’s amazing. And one of the coolest things I will say, I’ve known a lot of kids who’ve gone on to be successes and and they all have different paths. You know, some of them hit it, it seems like early in ninth grade. It’s like they’ve got it all figured out. And then other ones, it takes a little bit longer.

ROB CLEMONS
But I think that, you know, there’s always that personal growth that you can go through through life. So that’s a very cool thing. I’m sure it feels great as a principal, as a teacher, to see the kids develop from ninth grade to 12th grade and all afterwards. Absolutely. Do you have an ROTC program at the school?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
We do. We actually have a phenomenal it’s an endurance. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. They are just full of accolades. They are continuously outperforming throughout the nation. And that program in particular, since you brought it up, I.

ROB CLEMONS
Mean, okay, so disclosure, I was a JROTC officer back in high school, so. All right. Are you kidding? I might have to come in and teach him a thing or two.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Well, Sergeant Major Dugan is our instructor here on this campus, and he does an incredible job with leadership for our students. I aside from the work that they do in the ROTC classes, they are true leaders on this campus. They do a lot of kind of anything, honestly, that you ask them to do. They’re always willing to be apart and they want to be a part of everything.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
They present the colors at almost any activity. Color guard is on campus, so they’re phenomenal. And we really couldn’t do it without them, I have to say so.

ROB CLEMONS
So what do you think your ROTC program would be willing? One of our next? We’re big supporters of veterans at my recruiting where, you know, where I’m the general manager. You think they might be interested in coming to one of our rooms for church events and maybe taking part?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So, yeah, absolutely.

ROB CLEMONS
I love that. Awesome. Awesome. Oh, what’s the culture here at Myrtle Beach High School? You mentioned culture earlier. I thought it was really, really powerful. Where would you say the culture is if you had to describe it?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
It is. Gosh, I’m honestly kind of like an international family, if you will. And that probably sounds kind of wild. But we’re we’re super family oriented here and very rooted in tradition. This community is very special. And we have you know, I’ve got students here who are fifth generation Seahawks. You know, they’re their great grandparents, went to Myrtle Beach High School.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
But what else is cool about this particular cluster is that we’re all right here together. So, you know, you look out the office window, you can see the elementary school and then the middle school in the distance. We’re right physically located together, but we also only have one school at every level. So you make your way through the primary, the early childhood, elementary, the middle, and then you’re here.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
So we have this unique student body in that a lot of our kids have come straight up from kindergarten on to the high school, and they’ve grown up together this whole time, or they’ve come in from out of state or abroad because we have a very large population of international students on this campus, you.

ROB CLEMONS
Know, like what percentage it would be?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Is it so well, okay, I’m going to throw in some educational lingo.

ROB CLEMONS
Do it.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
All right. We have 24% of our students for this upcoming year qualify as multi-lingual learners. Wow. Which is a very large group of our population. It’s the largest in the county. And so within that, we have actually 26 different countries represented for the upcoming year and 18 different languages spoken by our students. So wow, yeah. I mean, it’s so you can imagine culturally the diversity that’s represented here.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
But what’s even more beautiful and that’s why I said international family is because regardless of where any of our kids have come from, whether they grew up in the cluster or they’ve come over from Uzbekistan or Brazil, our kids just get along.

ROB CLEMONS
Brazil fellow Portuguese, that’s about all of our Portuguese. And I’m sorry, I’ll go ahead.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Yeah, no, but so they just our students are really cool in that way that they just have a way of meshing together and respecting each other. And there’s there’s a lot to be learned from that type of diversity. So it’s it’s a really unique place.

ROB CLEMONS
I think that’s a really interesting angle. And for Myrtle Beach, you think about all of the incoming people. We’ve been one of the largest growing areas of the country for years now. And so you can imagine we do have more of a diverse population than maybe some of the other areas in South Carolina. So that’s really, really cool.

ROB CLEMONS
So I love that’s a good culture to build off of. It seems like you do an amazing job here and the school should be very proud to have you for sure. If there is any last thing you want people to know about yourself, what do you think it will be?

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Oh, gosh. Well, you know, I came into this position as principal in the middle of the pandemic. And so we talked a little bit earlier about just the challenges with that, you know, wearing a mask for essentially my first year in the role. And so I’m just so excited about starting your number three as really our first kind of normal, if you will, year together.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
You know, we’re starting with very few limitations in terms of the opportunities we’re able to offer our students. This year, we’re going to be having pep rallies for homecoming again. So good parades and, you know, field trips are a go. And so all of those opportunities, those things that I loved so much as a student, now we can extend to our kids.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
And so that just feels really exciting and wonderful to me. So, you know, I think to the parents and our students and our community in general, I’m just excited about being out there and seeing you guys and having fun together and learning and growing together.

ROB CLEMONS
That is the course way that you could have possibly described this. If I’m a if I’m a parent of a student that’s coming to the school, I want to know that my principal is excited about the school year, passionate, ready to get back to this thing and make great things happen. Kristin Altman, thank you so much. Principal Altman Sure.

ROB CLEMONS
I’m back in my school days. Thank you for being on the show. I think the school’s got great leadership with you and good luck with the upcoming school year.

KRISTIN ALTMAN
Thank you so much. It’s been fun.

ROB CLEMONS
Absolutely great. Well, this is Rob Clemons of Sun and with Caroline Connections. We appreciate you guys being here. We’ll see you next time.

 

Posted in Crowning Connections, Myrtle Beach.