Meet The Principal: Mark Pickle (File Photos) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 01 September 2017 10:08
(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features about the principals in the Chattooga and Trion School Systems. We begin with one of the newest ones, Mark Pickle of Menlo Elementary School.)
Pickle’s father was in the service and Mark was born in Washington, D.C. They moved to Florida and when he retired they moved to Menlo when Mark was in the first grade.
“I attended Menlo through the eighth grade and then went to Chattooga High School where I graduated in 1974,” the Menlo principal said.
After graduating, he attended Jacksonville State University. After college, he worked a couple of years in the Scouting program.
His first year of teaching was in 1982-83 at Trion City Schools. He also coached football and basketball. The coach who was there at that time left the school, so Mr. Pickle moved to Menlo Elementary School where he taught in a fifth grade classroom for one year after being offered a position there.
“In the fall of 1984 I took the physical education position at Menlo and taught there until I retired in 2015,” Mr. Pickle said. “I worked half time at Summerville Middle School then and later they offered me the Menlo principal’s job in the spring of 2016. I came out of retirement and accepted it.”
Responding to a question about what makes education important to him, Mr. Pickle said, “The biggest reward I get out of education is seeing the kids grow up here, because Menlo is a unique situation K-8, they go to high school and then get to see them come back as adults – seeing the whole process from the beginning until they succeed in life.”
He said he enjoyed making the kids feel at home at Menlo, feel welcome, being energetic – it is a different world; students have to be entertained now.
“It is no more, you do this, that and that, you have to have some kind of incentive for kids now,” he added.
Asked what, in his opinion, makes a good school. The second-year principal said, “The teachers. They are the experts in the classroom. I go to the teachers a lot of times for advice academically but I do my best to listen to the teachers, and I may not always agree with them but I support them any way I can.”
He added that he does everything from changing a light bulb or moving something in their classroom to trying to keep them motivated and happy.
“They do things for me and I try to do things for them and as I always tell them, they are the experts in the classroom and I am here to support you,” Principal Pickle said. “I will leave you alone, if I have to step in it will be done with the mutual agreement that you are doing your best and I am trying to do my best for you.”
Asked what he would want to be remembered for during his career as an educator, the principal said, “Someone who genuinely cared about the kids, not only as a student but as a person outside the classroom.”
Mark Pickle and his wife, Carole, who is a retired educator, live in Menlo and have two children, Emma, 28, who lives in Atlanta and Alex, 26, a chemical engineer in Chattanooga.

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